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Dyscalculia

5 Common Myths About Dyscalculia

By Amanda Morin

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If 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.

201Found this helpful
Two children doing math problems on school chalkboard
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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 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.

Girl struggling with math homework
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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.

Close up of child placing numbers into a puzzle
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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.

Students doing math exercises at school
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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.

Mom helping daughter with math homework using a calculator
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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 and apps you can try at home to make learning math easier...and even fun! Certain types of assistive technology can make learning math a more positive and successful experience for your child.

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Understood does not endorse or receive financial compensation for the sale of any of these products.

About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Sheldon Horowitz

Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D., is senior director of learning resources and research at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

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