We have had numerous parents and individuals ask about problems with numbers. Many who struggle with reading also struggle with math. Just as dyslexia refers to individuals who struggle with reading, dyscalculia refers to individuals of average intelligence who struggle with mathematical concepts and problems.
"Dyscalculia is a broad term for severe difficulties in math. It includes all types of math problems ranging from an inability to understand the meaning of numbers to an inability of applying math principles to solve problems" ( Source).
Dyscalculia, as with other types of learning disabilities, is believed to involve the language and visual processing centers of the brain. Symptoms can range from a poor understaning and confusion of the mathematicial symbols to difficulty with mental math, estimation, and directions. The most detrimental is the inability to understand the meaning of numbers and their quantities.
Dyscalculia, much like dyslexia, can result in the individual appearing less capable than they really are. This creates a whole slew of problems for them in school and in the work force. I know of one woman who was fired from every job because she would miscalculate the till or mix up numbers.
Dyscalculia is devastating and an issue that needs to receive more attention. According to the British Dyslexia Association dyslexia and dyscalculia can occur together or independently. Research suggests that between 50%-60% of those with dyslexia also have problems with math.
Even though we are a reading company that helps with reading problems, like dyslexia, we recognize the problems associated with dyscalculia and hope to add resources and information to our site for those seeking help.
There is treatment that can help with dyscalculia and it is similar to the treatment for dyslexia in that it needs to be systematic and multi-sensory. The learner must work with and understand the basic foundational math skills before they can move to the more complex mathematical problems.
I wanted to talk about this today to relay the same message that I feel is the most important one we share with those who struggle with reading and/or math. Your struggles have NOTHING to do with your intelligence. Your brain simply looks at, and processes, things differently. There is help. There is hope.