Special Needs

Understanding Dyscalculia: What It Is and How to Support Those with this Learning difficulty

Dyscalculia is a learning disability that affects a child's ability to understand and work with numbers. Children with dyscalculia may have difficulty with basic arithmetic operations, such as adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing, and may also struggle with more advanced math concepts like fractions, decimals, and algebra.

Some common signs of dyscalculia in children include:

  • Difficulty understanding and recognizing numbers.
  • Struggling with basic arithmetic operations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  • Difficulty understanding and using mathematical symbols and concepts.
  • Difficulty with time and money management.
  • Trouble with spatial reasoning and understanding spatial relationships.
  • Difficulty with mental math and estimation.
  • Struggles with word problems and applying mathematical concepts to real-life situations.

It's important to note that dyscalculia is not the result of a lack of intelligence or effort. Children with dyscalculia simply process and understand numbers differently than their peers, and they may need additional support and accommodations to succeed in math-related tasks. If you suspect that your child has dyscalculia, it's important to speak with a healthcare professional or education specialist who can provide a diagnosis and recommend appropriate interventions.

Unique strengths

  • People with dyscalculia can have a highly creative mind and a unique and innovative approach to problem-solving, which can lead to success in fields such as engineering or design.
  • Individuals with dyscalculia may have a strong memory for visual information, making them highly skilled in tasks such as memorizing maps, graphs, or charts.
  • Some people with dyscalculia have excellent verbal communication skills and can be highly articulate and persuasive.

Scientific facts

  • Research suggests that Dyscalculia is related to differences in brain areas such as the parietal cortex, which process numerical information.
  • This disorder presents as difficulties with math concepts and calculations.
  • It also includes issues such as telling time and understanding fractions and decimals.


  • Children with dyscalculia may struggle with basic mathematical concepts, such as counting, telling time, or understanding mathematical symbols.
  • Children with dyscalculia may experience difficulty with tasks that require spatial reasoning or organization, such as packing a suitcase or planning a route.

How parents and teachers can be more sensitive

  • Provide a specialized tutoring in mathematical or numerical concepts.
  • Use concrete examples and explanations to help individuals with dyscalculia understand abstract concepts.
  • Start by teaching them easier math or spatial concepts first, and then slowly working up to more complex topics.
  • Give them plenty of time to practice the things they struggle with on their own and provide patience and understanding during assistance.


Castaldi, E., Piazza, M., & Iuculano, T. (2020). Learning disabilities: Developmental dyscalculia. Handbook of Clinical Neurology, 174, 61-75.

Saga, M., Rkhaila, A., Ounine, K., & Oubaha, D. (2022). Developmental dyscalculia: the progress of cognitive modeling in the field of numerical cognition deficits for children. Applied Neuropsychology: Child, 11(4), 904-914.

Shalev, R. S. (2004). Developmental dyscalculia. Journal of child neurology, 19(10), 765-771.