Dyscalculia & Math Disorders

Math disorders are complex. They affect the ability to understand everything from basic arithmetic to complex math. Also called dyscalculia, math disorders lead to challenges in class work, homework, and many everyday tasks. This brain-related disability limits the capacity to quickly compute basic math facts.

Symptoms

The following are the most common symptoms of math disorders:

  • Poor development of math-related skills, especially when compared to writing, reading and speaking skills
  • For younger students, confusion when counting
  • Challenges with organizational and computational skills for math-related problems
  • Poor number sense
  • Difficulty understanding math word problems
  • Problems reading clocks, telling time and/or remembering schedules
  • Poor understanding of fractions, charts, and graphs
  • Poor understanding of basic math concepts such as subtraction, addition, multiplication, and division
  • Difficulty linking words with corresponding numbers, e.g. linking the sound “two” with the corresponding number 2
Treatment

To assist students with math disorders, parents, teachers, and neuropsychologists must work together in the following ways:

  • Designing customized teaching plans based on the specific needs of each student
  • Teaching foundational skills to advance to higher-level math
  • Encouraging participation in math-based games
  • Using graph paper to assist in learning math
  • Introducing new math-related skills by using concrete explanations and examples before moving on to abstract interpretations
  • Using music and rhythm to introduce math-based facts
  • Breaking more complex problems into parts
  • Using a multisensory approach (manipulatives and visuals) to aid in math learning
  • Expressing abstract math in more digestible, concrete terms