10 Surprising Ways Dyscalculia Impacts Kids

By The Understood Team
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When kids have dyscalculia, it impacts how well they learn and do math in school. But having poor number sense and other math skills can also lead to all sorts of challenges in daily life.

For example, kids with dyscalculia may have trouble with amounts, time, distance, speed, counting, mental math, and remembering numbers. Those difficulties can show up in ways you might not expect or recognize as being related to math.

Here are 10 surprising ways dyscalculia can impact kids.

1. Never has the right amount. If you say, “Can you bring out ice-cream sandwiches for everyone,” your child is always one or two short.

2. Avoids paying at the register. Your child picks out candy to buy at the store, but always has a friend or sibling make the actual purchase.

3. Won’t share with a group. When only one friend is over, your child brings out cookies to share. With a group, the cookies stay in the pantry.

4. Is constantly late. Your child is excited to be in the school play, but is always late for rehearsal. The drama coach isn’t happy.

5. Tries to avoid family game night. The minute a game like Yahtzee or Uno comes out, your child runs in the other direction.

6. Is slow to enter phone numbers. Even when your child is calling a familiar number, it takes forever to make the call.

7. Doesn’t understand the score. When you watch a game on TV, your child can’t tell by the score which team is winning and which is losing.

8. Gets lost easily. You’ve walked together to the store a million times. But every time you leave the store, your child is confused about how to get home.

9. Is still afraid to cross the street. Your 12-year-old still grabs your hand to cross the street, or darts across even when no cars are coming.

10. Puts off learning to drive. Everyone else has gotten their permit and is busy practicing parallel parking. Your child has no interest.

Dyscalculia isn’t always the cause of these behaviors. There are other issues that can cause math difficulties.

Discover strategies you can use at home to help with math challenges. And if you’re concerned your child has dyscalculia, explore this list of signs.

About the Author

About the Author

The Understood Team 

is made up of passionate writers, editors, and community moderators. Many of them learn and think differently, or have kids who do.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Daniel Ansari, PhD 

is a professor in developmental cognitive neuroscience at Western University, Canada.

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