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Dyscalculia: How to know if your child suffers from it?

Dyscalculia is a learning disability that impairs an individual’s ability to understand and process numerical information in a typical way. Common symptoms of dyscalculia include difficulty in calculation, fact, number sense and mathematical reasoning. It also includes difficulty in linking numbers and symbols to amounts and directions, making sense of money or telling time.

Symptoms of dyscalculia?

The problem with maths can vary depending on what is causing it and what is the age of your child. Here are some symptoms to look out for at different levels of schooling to identify if your child has dyscalculia.


– May find it hard to learn to count by 10s, up to 100

– Can have trouble counting each object in a group

– Difficulty in understanding that a number can be used to describe any group with the same amount. For example, not knowing that 5 can be used for a group of 5 fingers, 5 bananas, 5 dogs etc.

– Difficulty in writing and recognising numbers up to 20

– Skipping numbers while counting

– Inability to recognise patterns and sort items by size, shape or colour

Primary school

– Difficulty in counting 2s. 5s and 10s

– Unable to do basic mathematical calculations mentally

– Difficulty in recognising basic mathematical signs such as plus and minus

– Difficulty in understanding the concept of more than or less than

– Struggles in remembering basic maths facts like 10+10 = 20

– Does not make the connection between related math fact or fact families like 5+5=10, so 10-5= 5

– Has trouble recognising numerals

– Does not understand left and right

– Avoids playing games that involve strategies like checkers or soduku.

High school

– Struggles in using math in real life, for example doubling the recipe for making it for more people.

– Trouble in understanding maps and charts

– Hesitant in doing activities that require a good sense of speed, distance like running or learning to drive.

How to diagnose dyscalculia

Begin by talking with your child’s teacher. She will tell you how good your child is doing in maths. Every child with dyscalculia has different strengths and weaknesses, a competent professional will recognise this. Common tests for dyscalculia include:


One of the best tests you can do is ask your child to count backwards.

Drawing shapes

Visual-spatial skills play a huge role in math. Copying or drawing shapes from memory is a good way to measure a child’s challenges in this area.

Talk to your child’s teacher

Your child’s teacher can be the best person to share what she has observed in the class. You can discuss with the teacher the number of skills your child should learn by the end of school. This can tell you what your child needs help with and how far behind he is.

Talk to a specialist

Educational psychologists are trained to give specific tests that look at how children learn and think. The test can help pinpoint what exactly your kids need help with.

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