Could your child have...?

I’m Concerned My Child Might Have Dyscalculia. Now What?

By Amanda Morin

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Are you concerned your child’s trouble with math could be caused by dyscalculia? It can be hard to know how to find out. Here are steps you can take to see if your child has dyscalculia—and where to go from there.


Learn the signs of dyscalculia.

Get a better idea if what you’re seeing in your child could be dyscalculia. Learn about common symptoms of dyscalculia. You may also want to see how different learning and attention issues can cause trouble with math.


Pay close attention to your child’s behavior.

Take notes about what you’re observing in your child. Keep in mind that dyscalculia can cause difficulty not only with math facts, but with lots of skills. This includes things like visual-spatial processing.


Discuss what’s been happening at school.

Ask your child’s teacher if she has noticed any signs of math issues in the classroom. Find out if the teacher is already using any informal supports to help your child.


Talk to your child’s doctor.

Discuss your concerns with your child’s pediatrician. You may want to set up an appointment to speak without your child present. Bring your observations and a list of any additional concerns.


Look into getting an evaluation for supports at school.

Consider requesting a free educational evaluation. Kids who have dyscalculia may have other learning or attention issues, too. An evaluation can provide information that may help your child get the support he needs in school, such as accommodations.


Consult with a specialist.

Ask your pediatrician about a possible referral to a specialist who can identify or rule out dyscalculia. Getting a formal identification often involves specialized testing. Keep in mind that you typically have to pay for evaluations outside of school.


Talk about supports and services with the school.

Set up a meeting with the school and bring a copy of results from any independent testing you may have had done. Even if the school has done its own evaluation, any additional information can help get a 504 plan or Individualized Education Program (IEP) in place if your child is eligible.


Look into dyscalculia treatments and therapies.

Talk to your child’s doctor about treatment options, including educational therapy. Some kids with dyscalculia have visual-spatial issues, such as having a hard time telling left from right. So you may want to investigate occupational therapy as well.


Explore more ways to help your child.

Get answers to common questions parents have about dyscalculia. Learn about ways you can support your child at home. And consider connecting with parents like you. They may be able to share tips and advice that can help.

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 Brendan Hodnett

Brendan R. Hodnett, M.A., is a special education teacher in Middletown, New Jersey.

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