Problems with mathematics


What is dyscalculia?

Many children struggle to learn and apply maths. With a bit of extra support or tuition, most children are able to keep up with their peers. Although for some kids, understanding, acquiring and performing math-based skills is much more challenging. 

Dyscalculia is a term used to define more serious maths-related difficulties in children. 

This Specific Learning Disorder may lead children to feel inadequate or think they are "dumb". In fact, many kids with dyscalculia exhibit normal or even superior levels of intelligence.

Signs and symptoms

  • Strong aversion to math tasks
  • General difficulty applying numbers to daily activities
  • Difficulty matching words with their number symbol (eg. two = 2)
  • Difficulty with basic math facts (eg. 5+5=10)
  • Continues to count on fingers long after peers have stopped
  • Confuses math symbols (eg. swaps - for +)
  • Trouble working out correct money to pay for things
  • Difficulty reading graphs/charts

Purpose of assessment

It is important to identify dyscalculia as early as possible to give children the best chance at developing their maths skills and to keep up with their peers. 

Psychological assessment is a necessary first-step to determine the cause of your child's difficulty with maths.From this, an intervention plan will be developed to guide ongoing support and improvement. 

Psychological assessment will also help to identify your child's academic strengths so that you can build on these and nurture healthy self-esteem.

Getting a diagnosis

Children's maths ability is examined by psychologists as part of a wider educational assessment. These tests are usually the most valid and reliable way to determine whether a diagnosis of dyscalculia is appropriate or not. 

Specific Learning Disorders are complex. Unfortunately, there are no quick and easy checklists or online quizzes to give you an accurate diagnosis of dyscalculia.

To learn more about getting a diagnosis click here.

Talk to a psychologist

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