What is dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia: even the term sounds unfamiliar. Many people with dyscalculia may not know the condition exists. Instead they might just think they have difficulty with math, or that anything with numbers is a struggle for them. Those familiar with dyslexia and dysgraphia may never have heard of dyscalculia.

People with dyscalculia struggle with numbers and basic mathematical skills
People with dyscalculia struggle with numbers and basic mathematical skills.

So what is dyscalculia exactly? Dyscalculia is a learning disability that affects around five percent of the population. People with dyscalculia may be intelligent and creative but struggle enormously with basic mathematical problems. During childhood, specific regions of the brain develop and become specialised in the processing of numbers and mathematical thinking. In children with dyscalculia, the development of these specialised brain functions lags behind that of their peers.

When children experience these difficulties with numbers they can develop feelings of anxiety and inferiority whenever faced with math and arithmetic problems. These feelings can persist into adulthood, meaning that dyscalculia can have long-term psychological effects on those who have it.

Compared to dyslexia or even dyspraxia, dyscalculia is less widely-known and there are fewer resources out there for those dealing with dyscalculia. A dyslexic can do a quick search of “famous dyslexics” and come up with a list of celebrities and famous historical figures who are or were dyslexic. Dyscalculics will have much greater trouble locating others who can relate to their experience but there are support communities and resources out there for those who have dyscalculia. This blog aims to be one of these.

6 thoughts on “What is dyscalculia?

  • April 15, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    I have suffered all my life with this, loosing jobs and being harshly judged. My anxiety makes it even worse. My son suffers as well. He is having trouble passing his math requirement in college. I am desperate to help him and myself.

    • April 15, 2018 at 8:45 pm

      I’m sad to hear this Diana, I only hope that the information on this blog can help you and your son. If you need any specific information or just a question please don’t hesitate in leaving me a message and i’ll try to help. 🙂

    • December 13, 2018 at 11:14 am

      Hi Dyslexia Blogger, Thank you for your comment 🙂
      Sounds like a great idea, what do you have in mind?

  • February 12, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Hello my daughters school has put her on the list to get tested for this as her maths tests are so poor for a year 10 student. She has struggled from p1 in primary school and never caught up. She lags behind every requirement of maths but has arisistic flair in all other subjects. She gets very anxious and stressed about it all.

    • February 12, 2019 at 3:41 pm

      Hi Jennifer,
      It sounds likely that your daughter has dyscalculia or at least some form of maths anxiety. May I suggest that you or your daughter joins our Dyscalculia Support Group on Facebook, its full of people that have struggled with dyscalculia and maths anxiety and their experience could be a great resource for you or your daughter to find the support needed.
      Also please do look through our blog and if you have any questions, you can contact us on here or through the facebook support group.


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