What Is Dyscalculia? Overcoming Ways Difficulties in Mathematics

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Last Update Date: 20 January 2022

Learning difficulty in mathematics, also known as Dyscalculia, is a learning disability that makes it difficult to comprehend numbers and symbols and to perform mathematical calculations. Generally, it’s known as the mathematical version of dyslexia and is diagnosed by a dyscalculia test.

In this article, we will talk about how to support children with learning difficulties in mathematics and the most common treatment methods. Let's start with the causes and symptoms of dyscalculia.


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What Are Dyscalculia Symptoms?

​​Dyscalculia can occur in people from across any IQ level. Math learning disability symptoms are often associated with people who have Turner syndrome.

Math disorder symptoms usually are found out during childhood. Some students can have difficulties learning maths.

dyscalculia symptoms

Therefore, you may wonder about "What are the causes of poor performance in mathematics?" There can be other reasons for learning difficulties in mathematics other than Dyscalculia, such as ADHD.

That's why it is necessary to observe the causes of poor performance in mathematics and compare your children's level with their peers.

If you are concerned that your kids may have Dyscalculia, Dyscalculia Symptoms Checklist can help you understand significant behaviors for those who start primary or pre-school education.

  • Having difficulty with basic mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division (even if the question is straightforward) and spending a long time thinking on them.
  • Having trouble creating a sequence of math operations leads to the result.
  • Cannot memorize the multiplication table or forget it in a few days.
  • Counting fingers for all math operations all the time.
  • Mixing mathematical symbols.
  • Failing to learn simple geometric shapes.
  • Making simple mistakes by having memory problems.
  • Cannot learn the right-left concept or constantly making mistakes in this regard.
  • Experiencing attention disorders, cannot concentrate on the subject.
  • Failing to understand the concepts of date, hour, and time.
  • Paying the wrong amount of money or not calculating the change during shopping. (Check our suggestion - best money counting apps!)
  • Having difficulties counting coins.
  • Losing his/her self-confidence in the games which require tracking speed, distance, and directions.
  • Having difficulty to keep score in games.
  • Making a lot of mistakes in logical and strategic games.

If you observe some or all of those symptoms above in your child, you may need to visit a specialist consultant. If the child does not have any mental problems such as autism, it is possible to substantially get rid of these dyscalculia causes with several effective methods and exercises. On the contrary, don’t skip without visiting the best autism apps for kids.

How to Overcome Learning Difficulties in Mathematics

1. Visit a Specialist for the Diagnosis of Math Learning Disability

math learning disability

Of course, the first step is to get support from children's mental health and disease associations. Have the necessary tests (for example: The Dyscalculia Symptoms Test). If it is diagnosed as difficulty in learning mathematics, you will be directed accordingly.

2. Help Your Child Get Motivated

Having learning difficulties in mathematics can be stressful for the child. Thinking that "I have difficulty in math" is hurtful for children, and it can cause them to have avoidance behavior against mathematics.

difficulty in math

Remember that your kid needs to get motivated, and you should boost positive motivation as parents. Do not use accusatory expressions against the kid. You can always benefit from fun math jokes, brain teasers, or gamified exercises for this purpose.

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3. Exercise with Math Problems

Support the child until he/she solves all the questions because if a question cannot be solved, this may cause the child to get angry or confused. Congratulate the effort even if only some parts of the question are solved.

difficulties in mathematics

Turn these math word problems into a game format. MentalUP kindergarten math games are well suited to this. With these exercises, math problems can become a game you enjoy.

4. Make Them Play with Dyscalculia-Friendly Games

Some math games that are good for dyscalculia like MentalUP Educational Math Games. Gamification is one of the best teaching methods besides improving mathematical intelligence.

Games for Dyscalculic Learners

These games allow the child to get attracted and focused. As a plus, MentalUP offers the most entertaining games, so children can feel excited to exercise.

5. Build Teamwork with the Class Teacher

Tell the special condition of your child to the class teacher and the school counselor. Make them treat your child sensitively when his/her problems of learning mathematics in classroom occur.

difficulties in math

Evaluate the teachers' advice and gain insight into your child's learning style (for example, sensory, cognitive, visual, or auditory learning style).

This way, you will be able to provide your child with a customized learning process. Discovering your child's learning style will also help you against difficulties in mathematics.

6. Get Support from a Private Tutor or Educational Institution

maths difficulties

Consider getting support from a private tutor or educational institution to understand your kid’s math difficulty better and support your kid's struggles. With their professional directions, the causes of learning difficulties in mathematics can be removed faster.

7. Apply Attention and Memory Exercises

problems in learning mathematics

Make the child play attention games and memory games. By strengthening the memory and attention skills with exercises, you may see the effects of difficulties in mathematics will decrease in time. You can check MentalUP's scientific and entertaining attention and memory games!

8. Discover Your Child’s Talents and Strengths

It’s important to identify the areas of interest and specific talents of the child with Dyscalculia. You can increase the life satisfaction and motivation of the child by motivating him/her in those areas.

difficulty in mathematics

The children who experience difficulties in learning mathematics need accomplishment because they are sometimes accused of "incompetence" by their friends.

If you can discover their special abilities, making them experience the feeling of accomplishment may be easier. This feeling can even help children motivate themselves against difficulties in math and can create a positive attitude. Also, they can increase their exam scores, such as the Math Kangaroo results.

9. Play Arithmetic Intelligence Games

problems faced by students in learning mathematics

If your kid has difficulty in mathematics, playing arithmetic intelligence games is quite beneficial. Short arithmetic intelligence games help students' difficulties in mathematics by developing problem-solving skills with games that require logic and strategy.

10. Be Patient, Try to Help

mathematical difficulties

Do not get angry or tired when the child experiences mathematics difficulties on simple calculations. Try to help again and again. Make your kid feel safe, and remember, you are there to help her/him. With a positive attitude and solution-oriented approach, difficulties in mathematics learning can weaken in time.

What Is the Difference Between Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia is a writing disability that can cause difficulties such as holding a pencil, understanding the grammar rules, and unintelligible handwriting. Even if it's a neurological disorder, diagnosing it early and professional treatment can reduce the problem children experience.

Differences Between Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia

It's normal to feel confused about what is Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia. Even if both of them are learning disabilities, their effects are entirely different. Such as:

  • Dyscalculia affects math-related areas and can cause poor performance. Dysgraphia causes difficulties in writing-related tasks.
  • Dyscalculia makes children confused about mathematical terms and processes. However, Dysgraphia creates problems with holding a pencil, poor motor skills in writing, awkward handwriting, missing words in sentences, etc.
  • Dyscalculia can cause avoidance behavior against maths, while children with Dysgraphia have an avoidance of writing exercises.

"What area of the brain is related to dyscalculia and dysgraphia" is a common question that families ask. According to the researchers, these disorders are associated with the parietal lobe of the brain.

Even the parts that have a role in these neurological disorders are located, the researchers still can't identify the main reason for the special learning disabilities.

How to Treat Dyscalculia (Difficulty of Learning Mathematics)

The best dyscalculia treatment method is education because the difficulty of learning mathematics is not a disease. Even if you go for routine medical control, you will be called as a patient; however, Dyscalculia occurs because of the differences in the function of the brain.

how to treat dyscalculia

Education as a treatment for dyscalculia that we are trying to explain includes being conscious of the topics we mentioned above and supporting the child with specific education programs.

Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder can be observed in children with Dyscalculia. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatment can be recommended as a dyscalculia treatment for children in this case.

Dyscalculia can be diagnosed in adults, but there is no Dyscalculia treatment for adults even if there are some apps to improve math skills for adults that can be helpful, just as children. Even though the disability lasts lifelong, with the specialists' recommendations and strategies, the difficulties of Dyscalculia can weaken in time. Both children and adults can compensate for the negative effects of math learning difficulty.

You can have various math learning disorder tests by taking an appointment at Child Psychiatric and Diseases Center. After that, child psychiatrists can diagnose and apply treatment both for Dyscalculia and other triggered disorders. There is no specific treatment of Dyscalculia (medication or surgery). The best treatment methods can be evaluated as the recommendations in this article.

How to Deal With Dyscalculia? Effective Exercises & Tips

You can get children's books to make dyscalculic children practice figures and calculations. Also, chess-type strategy games and other logic games can be helpful.

It can also be beneficial to make calculations with your child by turning them into a game. You must also check MentalUP gamified math exercises and color and shape learning games.

MentalUP is an application that has the pedagogical product certificate provided by the Mental Health Association. It offers many entertaining and scientific games developed by specialist doctors, academicians, and game designers. Children see MentalUP as a fun activity and they complete their daily exercises happily! 🤗🎉

Children with Dyscalculia can play mathematical intelligence games, digital intelligence games, math operation games, logic games, attention games, and so on. 🙌 MentalUP also provides the opportunity to compare performance reports with their peers and examine the development graph! 📊

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Social and Internal Problems That Threat Children With Math Learning Disorder (Children With Dyscalculia)

Unfortunately, children with math disorders may get bullied by their friends. One of the other problems faced by students in learning mathematics would be an unconscious teacher that may call them 'idiot' or 'lazy.'

This is one of the challenges faced by mathematics teachers, but doing it is an unacceptable mistake. They all should act responsibly and observe the students whether someone has Dyscalculia.

Unconscious parents may also follow these mistakes. Parents can accuse children like: "You can do it if you want! You've always been naughty! You do not do it because you are lazy, etc."

It is obviously a huge mistake to evaluate this situation without understanding the reason for difficulties faced by students in learning mathematics.

If your child is talented on some other topics, it proves that the child has no problem with intelligence because children with Dyscalculia can be highly skilled in other subjects rather than mathematics.

children with Dyscalculia

There is no need to have any special ability either. If your child has normal skills for other matters besides mathematics, he/she doesn't have a problem with intelligence.

Instead of acting on your own, you need to get support from an expert child psychiatrist as soon as possible to understand common problems faced by students in mathematics who have Dyscalculia.

Family members and other people, who cannot show empathy in such situations, can negatively affect the mental health of children with Dyscalculia. Children who cannot express themselves correctly and are subjected to various kinds of humiliation tend to lose their motivation over time and run away from all responsibilities.

There is always the possibility for those children, who are introverts and have lost their sense of self, may experience isolation from society and serious psychological problems!

The family and society need to be aware of this issue to avoid these negative results. Special skills of the child should be supported, and the child should get help to improve himself/herself. The best way to achieve this is to use proper training and helpful exercises.

If you want to support your kid with Dyscalculia, MentalUP features the best mathematics exercises ever!

Give your kids a reason to love maths! With MentalUP’s 150+ mathematics games, children enjoy learning and improving their skills. 🎓🙌

Support your kids’ strengths to the maximum and turn their weak sides into strengths and don’t forget you can benefit from all-purpose apps for kids with learning disabilities! 📈💯