Does Your Child Have Problems With Math?

Earlier this year I wrote about Disorder of Written Expression, or dysgraphia, one of several learning disabilities. Another learning disability that can go undiagnosed is Mathematics Disorder, commonly called dyscalculia. It is determined by demonstration of mathematical ability that is significantly below the expected level, given the person’s age, achievement level and intelligence. It can be diagnosed by psychologists or other professionals trained in administering diagnostic measures and determining the presence of learning disabilities.

The child with Mathematics Disorder may have difficulties with all aspects or with just one area of mathematics functioning. The disorder is not related to the child’s level of intelligence, but rather, is believed to be related to difficulties in visualization/spatial skills/memory/sequential processing. Mathematics Disorder is estimated to affect one percent of school-aged children. Other researchers suggest the incidence can be as high as fourteen percent of young people.

Some of the things to look out for:

  • Significant difficulties with addition, subtraction, multiplication, division
  • Confusing math symbols (e.g. + for ÷ or vice versa)
  • Constantly making simple errors (e.g. incorrect point placement)
  • Difficulties with math concepts in daily living (e.g. telling the time, counting change)
  • Understanding the concepts of half, quarter, etc.

Children with Mathematics Disorder may also have significant difficulties with spelling, reading, language, and motor skills. While there is no cure, a psychologist, learning specialist, or trained math teacher can work with the child on developing strategies to improve math learning.

Click here to read the post on Disorder of Written Expression/Dysgraphia.

Child Mind Institute: Mathematics Disorder
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin: Learning Disorders
Drexel University: Mathematics Disorder



About Traci S. Williams-Nurse

Dr. Traci Williams-Nurse is a licensed psychologist who specialized in child, adolescent and family psychology. Her interests include child development, family functioning, video games and food. She was born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
This entry was posted in Academic Performance, Learning Disorders, Mathematics, Motor skills, Reading, School, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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