Saturday, December 11, 2010


As a follow up to my earlier post on dyslexia, I thought I would let you all know about it's lesser known cousin, dyscalculia. As dyslexia is to written words, letters, and reading; dyscalculia is to numbers, both for arithmetic and sequences like phone numbers and other codes. The textbook definition of dyscalculia covers any number of learning disabilities related to recognizing, writing, and manipulating numbers in mathematical functions. For a more personal perspective, check out this post.

If this sounds like a simple math problem, dyscalculia can be related to language disorders and visual spatial processing. The problems can stem from early childhood with difficulties in sorting, recognizing numerals, matching numbers with amounts, and comparing objects in terms of size or length. Older children may be challenged by learning math functions and remembering what various symbols mean or copying from textbooks to their own paper. If basic math functions cause difficulty, older students may be challenged by advanced mathematics involving several steps and more abstract concepts. Math-related activities such as remembering the sequences of numbers (codes, phone numbers, addresses, etc,) understanding time flow and schedules, organization skills, games of strategy, and  sense of direction may also be challenging.

Due to the wide variety of learning disabilities described by this term, a full set of mathematical assessments should be used to determine each individual's ability, level of understanding, strengths and weaknesses. Specific strategies can then be used to help the individual learn each skill more effectively.

To learn more about dyscalculia, check out LD Online or The Dyscalculia Forum.


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