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What is a Math Learning Disability

You may have heard about dyslexia, which is a reading disability. But have you ever heard of dyscalculia?
You may be surprised to know that dyscalculia is a math learning disability which can cause significant difficulties and bring a great deal of stress into the lives of people who live with them.  Dyscalculia is officially known as a learning disorder with a specific impairment in mathematics. A math learning disability involves all things related to calculations, concepts, and processing and affects about five to seven percent of students in the United States.

Students who struggle with learning disabilities can often feel pressure to keep up with their siblings and classmates and can feel judged or looked at as “stupid” because of the struggles. This can be very hard on a student’s self esteem and ability to perform which can bring anxiety and discouragement. Both discouragement and anxiety can worsen the effects of a learning struggle by hindering the students ability to focus and pay attention to detail, process information. All of which hinders retention and memory.

If you think about it, we use math in many aspects of our lives, it is more than just doing worksheets in school. Math is part of our everyday life and not being able to grasp specific concepts that most people take for granted can cause a great deal of anxiety.

SOME SYMPTOMS OF A MATH LEARNING DISABILITY?

There are many factors involved in math learning disabilities and dyscalculia but below are some symptoms you may see in your students who struggle in math.

  • Struggling with counting
  • Using fingers to count
  • Difficulty grasping mathematical symbols. (for example “+” means add, “-“ means subtract.)
  • Problems memorizing basic math facts such as addition rules or multiplication tables.
  • Difficulty placing numbers in the correct columns to calculate them.
  • Trouble making connections between numbers and amounts, symbols and directions, etc.
  • Problems understanding fractions
  • Difficulty grasping the concept of time
  • Problems measuring distance, size, amounts
  • Difficulty understanding the concept of amounts of money, or counting change
  • Struggles with knowing left from right
  • Difficulties recognizing patterns and sequencing numbers
  • Trouble grasping concepts like more or less, bigger and smaller, first, second, third. (also known as number sense)
  • Judging distance

Remember, we use math throughout our lives, it is more than just doing worksheets in school. Math is part of our everyday life and not being able to grasp specific concepts that most people take for granted can cause a great deal of anxiety.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

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