Math difficulties can be incredibly frustrating for everyone involved. Dyscalculia, the word used to describe “math dyslexia” is actually very common.

It’s not unusual for a child to have a tough time with math homework now and then. But if they have problems with numbers or low math test scores, yet does well in other subjects, they could have a math learning disability called dyscalculia.

Up to 7% of elementary school students have dyscalculia. Research suggests it’s as common as dyslexia — a reading disorder — but not as well understood. In fact, children and parents sometimes call it “math dyslexia,” but this can be confusing because dyscalculia is a completely different condition. Your school or doctor may call it a “mathematics learning disability” or a “math disorder.”

It can be associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — up to 60% of people who have ADHD also have a learning disorder, like dyscalculia.


Children with dyscalculia may lose track when counting. They may count on their fingers long after children of the same age have stopped doing it. They may find it hard to know at a glance how many things are in a group — a skill called “subitizing” that helps you see a 5 and a 3 after you roll the dice, without really counting. They may not be able to determine that a group of 10 marbles is equal to two groups of 5 marbles each – a skill called “math conservation”.

Even their basic understanding of numbers, or “number sense,” may not work well. This can make it hard to quickly tell, for example, if the number 8 is a bigger number than 6. A child with dyscalculia also may have a lot of anxiety about numbers. For example, they may panic at the thought of math homework.

School-aged children with dyscalculia may find it hard to:

  • understand math word problems
  • learn basic math, like addition, subtraction, and multiplication
  • link a number (1) to its corresponding word (one)
  • understand fractions
  • understand graphs and charts (visual-spatial concepts)
  • count money or make change
  • remember phone numbers or ZIP codes
  • tell time or read clocks
  • tell the difference between a “+” and “x” symbols
  • hold numbers in their head while problem solving
  • estimate things, like how long something takes or the ceiling height

Any number-based or math-based activity — even outside school — can frustrate children with dyscalculia. For example, a child with this learning disability may get upset with games that require constant counting or scorekeeping.

Work cited: Dyscalculia: Symptoms & Treatment of the Math Learning Disability” https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/dyscalculia-facts

If your child shows symptoms of dyscalculia, Training Gifted Minds offers a math assessment, a Davis® Math Mastery program, and/or math tutoring.

Professional services described as Davis®, including Davis Dyslexia Correction®, Davis Symbol Mastery®, Davis Orientation Counseling®,  Davis® Attention Mastery,  Davis® Math Mastery, and Davis® Reading Program for Young Learners  may only be provided by persons who are trained and licensed as Davis Facilitators or Specialists by Davis Dyslexia Association International.