Signs of dyscalculia aren’t always easy to spot. This checklist can give you a better idea of dyscalculia signs at different ages, like trouble with counting and number sense.
Refer to this list of signs as you observe your child. Keep in mind that all kids might occasionally have trouble with math. But children with dyscalculia will struggle a lot more than other kids who are the same age. Their struggles will continue over time, too.
Dyscalculia isn’t the same as math anxiety. But kids with dyscalculia often react strongly to activities that involve math. For instance, they may get upset or frustrated when playing board games.
You can print this checklist by clicking the view or download link below. Use it to discuss what you’re seeing with a doctor and teacher. You’ll want to keep an eye on signs like these over time, and track your child’s progress together.
Signs of Dyscalculia in Preschool
- Has trouble learning to count and skips over numbers long after kids the same age can remember numbers in the right order.
- Doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of counting. For example, when you ask for five blocks, he just hands you a large group of blocks, rather than counting them out.
- Struggles to recognize patterns, like smallest to largest or tallest to shortest.
- Has trouble understanding number symbols, like making the connection between “7” and the word seven.
- Struggles to connect a number to an object, such as knowing that “3” applies to groups of things like 3 cookies, 3 cars, or 3 kids.
Signs of Dyscalculia in Grade School
- Has difficulty learning and recalling basic math facts, such as 2 + 4 = 6.
- Still uses fingers to count instead of using more advanced strategies (like mental math).
- Struggles to identify math signs like + and ‒ and to use them correctly.
- Has a tough time understanding math phrases, like greater than and less than.
- Has trouble with place value, often putting numbers in the wrong column.
Signs of Dyscalculia in Middle School
- Struggles with math concepts like commutativity (3 + 5 is the same as 5 + 3) and inversion (being able to solve 3 + 26 ‒ 26 without calculating).
- Has a tough time understanding math language and coming up with a plan to solve a math problem.
- Has trouble keeping score in sports games and gym activities.
- Has difficulty figuring out the total cost of things and often runs out of money on his lunch account.
- May avoid situations that require understanding numbers, like playing games that involve math.
Signs of Dyscalculia in High School
- Struggles to understand information on charts and graphs.
- Has trouble applying math concepts to money, such as making exact change and figuring out a tip.
- Has trouble measuring things like ingredients in a simple recipe or liquids in a bottle.
- Lacks confidence in activities that require understanding speed, distance and directions, and may get lost easily.
- Has trouble finding different approaches to the same math problem, such as adding the length and width of a rectangle and doubling the answer to solve for the perimeter (rather than adding all the sides).
If you’re concerned your child may have dyscalculia, learn about the next steps to take. You can go over this checklist with your child’s doctor. You may also want to talk about what you’re seeing with your child’s teachers. Together you can come up with a plan to get your child the support he needs.