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What Is Math Dyslexia?

Kathleen Howard
Kathleen Howard

Math dyslexia, or dyscalculia, is a learning disability similar to dyslexia that affects an individual’s ability to comprehend and practice arithmetic. There are many different signs of dyscalculia. Sufferers may have a difficult time recognizing numbers and symbols, manipulating numbers, or understanding different mathematical concepts. While the causes of this condition are not completely understood, experts believe that a person’s memory and neurological development may play a role in this disability. To treat dyscalculia, sufferers are often advised to build their confidence and develop their skills through educational therapy and specialized software.

Just like the signs of dyslexia, the signs of math dyslexia vary per case. This condition is typically realized during childhood, as a child is first learning simple arithmetic. Math dyslexia does not necessarily mean that a child is of low intelligence. Many sufferers are average or above average in intelligence, but cannot grasp the concept of numbers or learn how to manipulate numbers in mathematical equations.

The signs of math dyslexia vary per case.
The signs of math dyslexia vary per case.

As a whole, the causes of dyslexia are not entirely known. While there are several theories, an exact reason for the condition has not been proven as of 2011. Some experts believe that math dyslexia might be caused by neurological abnormalities, problems with short term and working memory, or certain conditions, such as Gerstmann syndrome.

This condition has also been linked to gender and heredity. Females are more likely than males to suffer from this condition. Some believe that females develop math dyslexia because they struggle with spatial visualization. This means that they lack the ability to comprehend and process two- and three-dimensional figures. Research has also shown that one’s mathematical abilities tend to reflect those of his or her family members, which leads some experts to believe that these abilities are at least somewhat inherited.

Before treating dyslexia of any type, children will need to undergo an evaluation to determine their weaknesses. Many schools offer specialized testing and can evaluate whether a child has special needs. Students who are found to be suffering from math dyslexia will typically receive more individualized attention to help them develop their skills.

Children who need additional help treating dyscalculia, might need to seek the assistance of an educational therapist. An educational therapist will focus on helping students process and understand numbers, mathematical symbols and basic concepts. Even if a child is receiving specialized help in school, additional therapy might be effective in reinforcing important lessons.

Many different tools and computer programs have also been developed to help children suffering from math dyslexia. Some children benefit from the use of specialized calculators and software, especially when used in combination with other therapies. While children with math dyslexia typically take much longer to understand math, many children are able to work through their difficulties over time.

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    • The signs of math dyslexia vary per case.
      By: kolett
      The signs of math dyslexia vary per case.