National Center for Learning Disabilities

Facebook Twitter Google Pinterest NCLD YouTube

Take Action

A- A A+

5 Common Myths About Dyscalculia

Common Myths About Dyscalculia and Math Learning DisabilitiesIf your child is has dyscalculia or is struggling with math, you need quick information to make smart decisions for your child. Here we debunk common myths about dyscalculia to help you separate fact from fiction.

Myth #1: All children with dyscalculia have the same difficulties with math.Fact: Dyscalculia actually refers to a wide range of math issues, so your child’s trouble spots may be different from another child’s. For example, some kids with dyscalculia have a hard time with basic number concepts. Others have difficulty with the kind of visual-spatial thinking that’s needed for geometry. What most kids with dyscalculia have in common, though, is challenges remembering basic math facts and completing math problems.

Myth #2: Dyscalculia is another name for math anxiety.Fact: Dyscalculia and math anxiety are not the same thing. It’s understandable that people confuse the two, though. It’s common for kids who struggle with math—like kids with dyscalculia—to become anxious about doing math homework or going to math class. Learn more about key differences between dyscalculia and math anxiety.

Myth #3: Dyscalculia is basically dyslexia for math.Fact: Although dyscalculia is sometimes referred to as “math dyslexia,” that’s just a nickname. Dyscalculia and dyslexia are separate conditions that have some overlapping symptoms. Kids dealing with both tend to have difficulty with language-based math issues, such as solving word problems and learning math vocabulary.

Myth #4: Dyscalculia isn’t very common.Fact: Dyscalculia hasn’t been studied as much as other conditions like dyslexia, but that doesn’t mean it’s uncommon. In fact, researchers are beginning to think dyscalculia may be almost as common as dyslexia. One study found that as many as 13.8 percent of children—that’s nearly one out of every seven kids!—might have some form of dyscalculia.

Myth #5: Kids with dyscalculia can’t learn math.Fact: Kids with dyscalculia may have a harder time learning math than other kids, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn it—and even excel at it. There are classroom accommodations your child’s teacher can use, as well as strategies you can try at home to make learning math easier. Certain types of assistive technology can make learning math a more positive and successful experience for your child.



Amanda Morin is an education and parenting writer who uses her experience as an early interventionist and teacher to inform her writing. Her work appears on many parenting websites and she is the author of two books, including The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.