Pyramid of Potential
Dyscalculia - Definition and Remediation
new logo
May 15, 2014
I'm home for a very short time between my trip to California and my trip to New Jersey. California was excellent; the wildfires were out and the temperatures back to about 70 degrees. Beautiful! Plus, I stayed out for a few days and my husband joined me. We went to a Padres game and the San Diego Zoo. What could be better!

We are coming to the close of the school year. I hope everyone has a good last few weeks unless you are so lucky as to be done! I will continue to send newsletters throughout the summer, so be sure you use an email address that you can access. There is always so much to share!

After this newsletter, I will be concentrating on giving you activities to try throughout the summer to improve various skills. Also, I am starting to write a new book, "The Roadmap From Reading Failure to Success" which I will let you sample. I am planning all sorts of webinars too!

So stay in touch!


Kathy Johnson

Dyscalculia: Definition, Research and Remediation



The Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders [DSM-5]
 (American Psychiatric Association [APA] 2013) is used across the world to provide core standards for diagnosis. Their diagnostic criteria for mathematical impairment in specific learning disorder are problems with 'number sense, memorization of arithmetic facts, accurate or fluent calculation and accurate math reasoning' (APA 2013, p. 67). 

DSM-5  states that if the term 'dyscalculia' is to be used then this implies that the diagnosis refers to a 'pattern of difficulties characterized by problems with processing numerical information, learning arithmetic facts, and performing accurate or fluent calculation' (APA 2013, p. 67). 



Number sense is understanding what math is all about. In the past 14 years while I have been helping people of all ages overcome learning issues, I have noticed an improvement with understanding of math after "integrating the Moro Reflex". Twelve year old Katelyn, a student of mine, after doing nothing else to help her math and after integrating the Moro reflex for about 4 weeks, suddenly went from not being able to count objects correctly (even 3 or 4), to being able to apply math in a current life situation. I may be a good teacher, but there is no way I could do that in a month!!


Also necessary for number sense is good sequencing, which is done while integrating the Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex. Understanding and telling time is actually done while learning good sequencing - after all, time is just a sequence of moment to moment.


Memorization of arithmetic facts requires good visual and short-to-long-term memory skills. Memory is set up in the brain during the Spinal Galant reflex, so integration of this is a must. In order to have good visual skills, all primitive reflexes should be integrated. Improving visual memory with cognitive training is best done after primitive reflex integrations, so that the foundation is set up in the brain.


Calculation: In order to do higher level calculation, a sufficient working memory is necessary. The average working memory of a person 7 years old or older is 7 discrete pieces of information. This means if a person has a low working memory, he or she cannot hold math facts AND steps AND concepts in the brain at once. However, working memory can be improved, using cognitive training (brain training) - just be sure that the reflexes are integrated first. If they are not, the training is less effective and more costly.


For more information on primitive reflexes, go to


For more information on how to help your child, go to


If you are a professional and want more information, go to



After Lia's first experience with the Moro exercise, she jumped up from her chair and said, "I want to do some math", promptly sitting down and voluntarily doing some computation problems.   

I'm keeping a journal with the interesting things she has said and done since we started doing Starfish.  Some things have to do with numbers that used to be confusing that are clarifying, such as saying, "At my birthday party 2 months ago....." (which was exactly right, not 2 weeks ago or something else she used to say......or just avoid the numbers altogether).  Expressive language and articulation are a notch better as well as her desire to be organized.  But most of all we see a jump in self-confidence:  2 things she used to be afraid of, swimming and birds, she recently told us she "loved" and has begun swimming the length of the YMCA pool over and over again without stopping or using any flotation prop at all.

Her tutor told me today that Lia automatically got the division facts because she understood them to be the reverse of the multiplication facts she had memorized.  (Reverse reasoning has been hard for her in the past.)  I'm (happily) having trouble keeping track of all these little triumphs in the journal I'm keeping.





"Primitive Reflexes and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder:Developmental Origins of Classroom Dysfunction" describes an overlap of ADHD behaviors and retained infant reflexes. The boys in the study that were diagnosed with ADHD had significantly higher levels of retained infant reflexes than the boys who were not diagnosed with ADHD. The

main reflexes that were retained are called Moro, Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex (TLR), Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR), and Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (STNR). The retention of these reflexes also corresponded to lower math achievement than theboys who were not diagnosed with ADHD and had lower levels of retained infant reflexes. It was also discovered that an active Moro reflex inhibits the integration of the other three reflexes.

International Journal of Special Education 2004, Vol 19, No.1


In This Issue
Contact Us
Kathy Johnson, MS Ed
Pyramid of Potential
245 Washington St #3369
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Where's Kathy?


It is now time to set up yourprofessional development at your school - Kathy is available for many dates this summer! Call now to secure YOUR date!


Below are the upcoming workshops that Kathy Johnson is giving. If she is not coming to your area, why not hire her for your next professional development?


Kathy Johnson Photo 2010


Wednesday, June 04, 2014 in HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ

Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach
Thursday, June 05, 2014 in PARSIPPANY, NJ

If you aren't near any of these on-site professional development conferences, consider the following:

Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach 
Price: $169.99  Author: Kathy Johnson, MS Ed.
Format: DVD

Copyright © 20XX. All Rights Reserved.