Dyscalculia: An Underrepresented Learning Disability

It is common for children to say that they aren’t a math person. And while some people may not love the subject, others might be mentally limited in understanding and applying it. Dyscalculia is a neurological condition that impairs an individual’s problem-solving and calculating abilities. If dyscalculia goes unnoticed in a child, they may lead the rest of their life feeling like there is something wrong with them, which is why it is so crucial for this condition to be understood and properly handled. This article will give insight into this complex condition and how it can affect someone daily. 

Although the classifications for dyscalculia may vary, many researchers and scientists agree with Dr. Ladislav Kosc and his groupings. Kosc found six subtypes of dyscalculia: Verbal dyscalculia, Practo-gnostic dyscalculia, lexical dyscalculia, graphical dyscalculia, ideognostical dyscalculia, and operational dyscalculia. Verbal dyscalculia is when someone struggles with determining how many things there are. Practo gnostic dyscalculia is when someone has trouble manipulating things mathematically. Lexical dyscalculia is when someone has struggles comprehending mathematical symbols, operational signs, and numerals. Graphical dyscalculia refers to when someone struggles with writing mathematical symbols and numerals. Ideognostical dyscalculia references problems in understanding mathematical concepts and relationships. And finally, operational dyscalculia is when someone finds arithmetic operations difficult.

While information regarding the causes of dyscalculia is limited, scientists have been able to determine that the condition can be hereditary, meaning that someone with a family member with dyscalculia is at a higher risk of having it themselves. Additionally, environmental factors can influence this condition, such as being exposed to alcohol while in the womb. Most cases of dyscalculia are identified in children ages 6-9 years old since this is when symptoms (such as having difficulty identifying numbers, losing track while counting, struggling to recognize patterns, and the inability to understand mathematical operations) become more prominent. However, someone can develop dyscalculia as a result of a severe injury or stroke.

There are many impacts that dyscalculia can have on your life. It can worsen your sense of direction (differentiating between left and right), money management, time management, and estimation skills. Additionally, those with dyscalculia may also have dyslexia or ADHD, which may make it difficult for one to comprehend word problems and stay focused. If left unaddressed, children with dyscalculia may develop a fear of numbers, which can overcomplicate their lives. While there isn’t a known cure for dyscalculia, the right tutor can make all the difference. With the help of a patient tutor, children can overcome dyscalculia. Having teachers and tutors draw out problems and break them down step by step will help students with dyscalculia better understand problems and develop new ways to approach them. 

Overall, dyscalculia is an underrepresented condition that many people are not aware of. If developed during childhood, the consequences of dyscalculia can extend far into adulthood and may last for a lifetime. These are all reasons why understanding this condition in and of its entirety is a necessary step that we must take. 

Works Cited

Brain Balance. (2021). 5 Strategies for Managing Dyscalculia. Www.brainbalancecenters.com. https://www.brainbalancecenters.com/blog/strategies-for-managing-dyscalculia

Clouser, L. (n.d.). What is Dyscalculia? – Learning Disabilities Association of America. LDA America. https://ldaamerica.org/what-is-dyscalculia/

du Plessis, S. (2023, June 10). Dyscalculia Types and Subtypes – Edublox Online Tutor. Edublox Tutor. https://www.edubloxtutor.com/dyscalculia/#Types-of-dyscalculia

Jacobson, R. (2016, March 7). How to Spot Dyscalculia. Child Mind Institute; Child Mind Institute. https://childmind.org/article/how-to-spot-dyscalculia/

Living with Dyscalculia. (n.d.). UNESCO MGIEP. https://mgiep.unesco.org/article/living-with-dyscalculia#:~:text=Money%20management%3A%20Dyscalculia%20can%20make

Psychology Today Staff. (2021, September 7). Dyscalculia | Psychology Today. Www.psychologytoday.com. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/dyscalculia#:~:text=Researchers%20do%20not%20yet%20know