Living with dyscalculia ... can be really frustrating at times ... the biggest challenge is dealing with the attitudes I get from others, who cannot understand my apparent inability to remember locations or follow directions. Hopefully as more of us talk about such struggles and share our experiences of dealing with such a disability, more people will become more understanding.

Virginia Beach, taken from D means Deaf and Dys... (whatever!),


Dyscalculia primarily affects the learning process in relation to Mathematics. Two of the types of dyscalculia that have been identified are:

  • Type 1: developmental dyscalculia where students exhibit a marked discrepancy between their developmental level and general cognitive ability as it pertains to Mathematics. As a basic indicator of developmental dyscalculia students will perform below expectations with no obvious explanation (e.g. general ability, emotional state or illness) available.
  • Type 2: dyscalculia where students exhibit a complete inability to manage mathematical concepts and numbers. It presents as an enduring condition that affects the ability to acquire mathematical skills despite appropriate teaching.

image of a gingerbread man made out of paper, laying on a tableDyslexia and dyscalculia may co-exist, but not all students with dyslexia will have difficulties in Mathematics. However, dyslexia will affect all kinds of learning that depend on reading including Mathematics.

Dyscalculia may manifest itself through the student’s inability to conceptualise number, number relationships and outcomes of numerical operations (estimating). Students variously exhibit difficulties in the following areas: computation, direction, laterality, mathematical concepts, mental Mathematics, money, omissions, reading and writing numbers, reversals, rote counting, rules and formulae, sequencing, and time and time management. Students may be unable to comprehend or ‘picture’ mechanical processes as they often lack ‘big picture’ thinking.

Other symptoms of dyscalculia may be noted in poor athletic co-ordination, difficulty keeping scores during Physical Education and problems keeping track of whose turn it is during games. Transitioning between lessons, particularly at post-primary level may also be difficult. Students may also have a poor sense of direction, display a tendency to lose things and may seem absent minded. Additional problems may be seen in difficulties that arise in grasping concepts of formal music education such as reading music, and in students sometimes having poor name/face retrieval when recollecting individual’s names.

Photo of activity games displayed on seperate tables