Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dyscalculia Day: The Math Dyslexia

Today is Dyscalculia Day. Do you know what dyscalculia is? Do you know someone who struggles with math, numbers, order of operations, directions, locations, or even learning music, for instance?

From The Dyscalculia Forum:

The Basic Facts
Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability in mathematics. Dyscalculia is a word you use to describe when people have significant problems with numbers - but still have a normal or above normal IQ. It seems that no dyscalculic has problems with math alone, but also struggle with problems being able to learn to tell time, left/right orientation, rules in games and much more. See the list of symptoms. Also, there are more types of dyscalculia, and all types demand specific learning methods aimed at the specific problem.

You Can Do It If You Want To!
Probably followed by "and if you try hard enough". This is a typical remark from teachers and parents to motivate the student - and although it can be meant in the BEST way possible, it is not true when it comes to dyscalculic students. The thing a dyscalculic wants most in this world is to be able to understand those numbers. Dyscalculics need different learning methods, in every aspect of the assignment. Dyscalculics are able to learn how to calculate something one day, only to discover that the information has been forgotten the next day. In other words programs like Kumon, where repetition is a major part of the teaching methods seem to have no result for dyscalculic students - they forget. Through different learning methods aimed specifically at the student and his/her version of dyscalculia can have great results.

Dyscalculia, or math disorder, is recognized by both the World Health Organization and is in the DSM-IV. It is officially a learning disability and anyone, as long as they know about it, can seek the help they need. That is why I am sharing this information today. I am dyscalculic. I was diagnosed while attending my first year of college in 1990. While I always knew my brain worked differently than other people's brains did, having the validation that came with a recognized diagnosis, would have saved me years and years of torment, pain and ridicule in my academic years. Had my teachers or family known that dyscalculia was real and not just in my head, I might have been able to get the help I needed and learning would have been better supported. Please share information about dyscalculia with others, you never know who might be helped.

~Amy Bradstreet


  1. My granddaughter is 10 years old and fits this list of symptoms to a tee. She also has continence problems, trouble spelling, and is quite immature for her age. She is currently being tested to find out how we can best help her. No one in the family has anything similar to this. Is there a way to help if this proves to be the problem, or even part of the problem?

  2. Hello Hope, I think you'll find that the many dyscalculia links I've provided in this post and on the Helpful Links page, that there are many suggestions for easing learning for people who have dyscalculia. For instance, I found this letter very helpful: