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Understanding Dyscalculia: Navigating Challenges in Mathematical Learning

In this edLeader Panel, the presenters discuss the complexity of dyscalculia, a specific learning disorder that affects numerical comprehension, arithmetical skills, and mathematical reasoning. They aim to provide a comprehensive overview of dyscalculia, exploring its causes, symptoms, diagnostic instruments, and potential interventions. Key highlights of this session include:

  • Characterizing dyscalculia: Starting from research in mathematical cognition, understand the fundamental characteristics of dyscalculia, differentiating it from other learning disorders
  • Neurological insights: Explore the neurocognitive basis of dyscalculia, uncovering how differences in brain functions contribute to difficulties with mathematical domains
  • Recognizing symptoms: Learn to recognize common signs of dyscalculia and discover why early identification is crucial
  • Diagnostic criteria: Summarize existing diagnostic instruments to identify dyscalculia and present innovative approaches for the diagnosis
  • Potential interventions: Discover research-based approaches and teaching strategies that can be used to support individuals with dyscalculia, promoting confidence and competence in mathematics
  • Classroom examples: Learn from students and teachers how to recognize dyscalculia and face its challenges

Whether you’re an educator, healthcare professional, or simply interested in learning more about dyscalculia, this edLeader Panel provides a unique opportunity to foster awareness, understanding, and empathy for those facing mathematical challenges in the elementary through high school grades.

About the Presenters

Dr. Bettina Pedemonte is a Full Specialist at the Dyslexia Center, which is part of the Neurology Department at UCSF. She completed a Ph.D. degree in mathematics in Italy at Genoa University and a Ph.D. degree in mathematics education in France at Grenoble University. She has experience in teaching mathematics, in particular to students with learning disorders. She designed technological environments to support mathematical learning. Her research interests include understanding cognitive processes involved in solving mathematical problems and finding new teaching methods to support mathematical learning.

Natalie Bell is a Math Curriculum Specialist and Instructional Coach at the Charles Armstrong School, a school for dyslexic learners. She has earned her master’s degree in education along with a multiple-subject teaching credential. She has over a decade of experience in teaching. The past six years have been in teaching students with dyslexia and other related learning differences. Her current role includes coaching teachers in the classroom on implementing research-based curricula and strategies, collaborating with school partners such as UCSF and HMH, and presenting professional development to teachers and families.