What is it like to have Dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia affects around 5% of children, a smaller proportion than those affected by dyslexia (the rate of occurrence for dyslexia in the United States is approximately 15%). This has resulted in dyscalculia remaining relatively unknown; many people are not even familiar with the term.

What effect could this have on children with dyscalculia? Imagine struggling every day at school with number problems that your peers master far more quickly than you do. Your teacher is beginning to lose patience with you and your parents think you are just not trying hard enough. They don´t understand that you are trying hard every day, but even basic arithmetic concepts make no sense to you. You are called lazy or stupid or both.

This is the reality for many students with dyscalculia. With awareness of this learning disability still low, children may not be diagnosed as dyscalculic and not receive intervention that could help them succeed in the classroom.

teacher student
Trying to understand what dyscalculia is and how it affects children can help educators meet the needs of those children.

To get a sense of what math and numbers are like for a child with dyscalculia, try Understood.org’s online tool Through Your Child´s Eyes. Select “math issues” and grade level and then experience some of the difficulties dyscalculics struggle through when presented with numbers. The tool also simulates reading and attention issues, useful for anyone with an interest in dyslexia and other learning disabilities.

Click here to test out the learning issues simulator (external link).

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