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Common Warning Signs of Dyscalculia in Children Pre-K to Grade 2

Math Learning Disability SymptomsDoes it seem like your young child is having a hard time learning the basics of math, numbers and counting? Dyscalculia refers to a range of learning disabilities (LD) involving math. Dyscalculia affects people in different ways and may even vary over a person’s lifetime.

Most children struggle with learning at times, but learning disabilities such as dyscalculia don’t come and go; they persist over time. While dyscalculia is most often formally identified in school-age children, signs of the disorder can often be detected in preschoolers.

If you’re concerned about your child, review the following list of common warning signs of dyscalculia in children in Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 2. And because some of the “symptoms” listed below also apply to other types of learning disabilities and/or to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which often co-exist with dyscalculia, you may want to review our more comprehensive Interactive Learning Disabilities Checklist to clarify your concerns.

For At Least the Past Six Months, My Child Has Had Trouble


  • Learning to count
  • Understanding the relationship between a number symbol (4) and corresponding number of objects (4 dinosaurs, 4 cars)
  • Organizing objects in a logical way, such as grouping round objects in one pile and squares in another
  • Counting quickly and doing simple math calculations
  • Learning and remembering basic addition and subtraction facts
  • Understanding when to use math procedures (adding, subtracting)
  • Learning strategic counting principles (by 2, by 5, by 100, etc.)
  • Learning the vocabulary of math
  • Playing games that involve numbers and math strategies
  • Understanding and learning to count money
  • Estimating numbers and quantities
  • Making comparisons (less than, greater than)
  • Telling time
  • Accurately sensing the passage of time

Visual-Spatial Sense

  • Recognizing printed numbers
  • Remembering numbers (phone numbers, game scores)
  • Understanding spatial direction (such as right and left)
  • Developing a sense of direction (is easily lost or confused in unfamiliar surroundings)


  • Feeling motivated and confident about learning
  • Joining peers in playing games that involve numbers, counting and other math concepts

If your child displays several of these warning signs, talk to a professional, such as your child’s teacher or pediatrician. Print this article, check off the warning signs that apply to your child, and take the list to them. With proper identification and support, your child will be better able to succeed in school and in life. The sooner a child’s LD is identified, the better the results will be, so trust your observations and have the courage to advocate for any special needs.

Additional Resources

Tags: preK-grade2