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Classification and external resources
ICD-10F81.2, R48.8
ICD-9315.1, 784.69
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Classification and external resources
ICD-10F81.2, R48.8
ICD-9315.1, 784.69

Dyscalculia is difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic, such as difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, and learning facts in Mathematics. It is generally seen as a specific developmental disorder like dyslexia.

Dyscalculia can occur in people from across the whole IQ range, often, but not always, involving difficulties with time, measurement, and spatial reasoning.[1][2] Estimates of the prevalence of dyscalculia range between 3 and 6% of the population.[1][2] A quarter of children with dyscalculia have ADHD.[3]

Mathematical disabilities can occur as the result of some types of brain injury, in which case the proper term is acalculia, to distinguish it from dyscalculia which is of innate, genetic or developmental origin.

Dyscalculia has been associated with females who have Turner's Syndrome.[citation needed]


Mental disabilities specific to mathematics were originally identified in case studies with patients who suffered specific arithmetic disabilities as a result of damage to specific regions of the brain. More commonly, dyscalculia occurs developmentally, as a genetically linked learning disability which affects a person's ability to understand, remember, or manipulate numbers or number facts (e.g., the multiplication tables). The term is often used to refer specifically to the inability to perform arithmetic operations, but it is also defined by some educational professionals and cognitive psychologists such as Stanislas Dehaene[4] and Brian Butterworth[2] as a more fundamental inability to conceptualize numbers as abstract concepts of comparative quantities (a deficit in "number sense"), which these researchers consider to be a foundational skill, upon which other mathematic abilities build.[1][2]


The term dyscalculia dates back to at least 1949.[5][6]

Dyscalculia comes from Greek and Latin which means: "counting badly". The prefix "dys" comes from Greek and means "badly". "Calculia" comes from the Latin "calculare", which means "to count". The word "calculare" comes from "calculus" (the diminutive of "calx", which means stone), which means "pebble" or one of the counters on an abacus.

Synonym - Numlexia [7]

Problems with counting[edit]

The earliest appearance of dyscalculia is typically a deficit in the ability to know, from a brief glance and without counting, how many objects there are in a small group (see subitizing). Human infants can typically subitize three objects, and this number grows as the person matures, so that most adults can subitize 5 or more objects. However, children with dyscalculia can subitize fewer objects and even when correct take longer to identify the number than their age-matched peers.[8]

Other problems[edit]

Dyscalculia involves frequent difficulties with everyday arithmetic tasks like the following:

Search for causes[edit]

Researchers consider dyscalculia to be akin to dyslexia, regarding it as a specific learning disability involving intrinsic and extrinsic properties.

Scientists have yet to understand the causes of dyscalculia. They have been investigating in several domains.

Other causes may be:

Involvement of the intraparietal sulcus has been suggested.[17]


Software intended to remediate dyscalculia has been developed.[18][19][20]

Forms of educational therapy, such as neuro-sensory educational therapy, can be an effective treatment.

A study used transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) to the parietal lobe during numerical learning and demonstrated selective improvement of numerical abilities that was still present six months later.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Butterworth B. (2010). "Foundational numerical capacities and the origins of dyscalculia". Trends in Cognitive Sciences 14 (12): 534–541. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2010.09.007. PMID 20971676. 
  2. ^ a b c d Butterworth B, Varma S, Laurillard D. (2011). "Dyscalculia: from brain to education". Science 332 (6033): 1049–1053. doi:10.1126/science.1201536. PMID 21617068. 
  3. ^ Shalev, Ruth. "Developmental Dyscalculia". 
  4. ^ Dehaene, S. (1997). The Number Sense: How the Mind Creates Mathematics. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-513240-3. 
  5. ^ David Pollak (5 March 2009). Neurodiversity in higher education: positive responses to specific learning differences. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 125–. ISBN 978-0-470-99753-6. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  6. ^ Kosc, Ladislav, 1974, "Developmental dyscalculia," Journal of Learning Disabilities 7" 159-62.
  7. ^ http://www.dyscalculia.org
  8. ^ Fischer, Burkhart; Christine Gebhardt, Klaus Hartnegg, (2008). "Subitizing and Visual Counting in Children with Problems in Acquiring Basic Arithmetic Skills" (PDF). Optometry & Vision Development 39 (1): 24–29. 
  9. ^ Posner, Tamar (2008). Dyscalculic in the making: Mathematical sovereignty, neurological citizenship, and the realities of the dyscalculic. Publisher ProQuest. ISBN 978-1-109-09629-3. 
  10. ^ Web columnist Penelope Trunk describes many symptoms of the disorder, including this one, in a blog post about How To Ask For Help.[1]
  11. ^ http://www.as.wvu.edu/~scidis/dyscalcula.html
  12. ^ Levy LM, Reis IL, Grafman J (August 1999). "Metabolic abnormalities detected by 1H-MRS in dyscalculia and dysgraphia". Neurology 53 (3): 639–41. doi:10.1212/WNL.53.3.639. PMID 10449137. 
  13. ^ Mayer E, Martory MD, Pegna AJ, Landis T, Delavelle J, Annoni JM (June 1999). "A pure case of Gerstmann syndrome with a subangular lesion". Brain 122 (6): 1107–20. doi:10.1093/brain/122.6.1107. PMID 10356063. 
  14. ^ Adams JW, Hitch GJ (October 1997). "Working memory and children's mental addition". J Exp Child Psychol 67 (1): 21–38. doi:10.1006/jecp.1997.2397. PMID 9344485. 
  15. ^ Geary DC (September 1993). "Mathematical disabilities: cognitive, neuropsychological, and genetic components". Psychol Bull 114 (2): 345–62. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.114.2.345. PMID 8416036. 
  16. ^ Monuteaux MC, Faraone SV, Herzig K, Navsaria N, Biederman J (2005). "ADHD and dyscalculia: Evidence for independent familial transmission". J Learn Disabil 38 (1): 86–93. doi:10.1177/00222194050380010701. PMID 15727331. 
  17. ^ Rubinsten O, Henik A (February 2009). "Developmental dyscalculia: heterogeneity might not mean different mechanisms". Trends Cogn. Sci. (Regul. Ed.) 13 (2): 92–9. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2008.11.002. PMID 19138550. 
  18. ^ Wilson AJ, Revkin SK, Cohen D, Cohen L, Dehaene S (2006). "An open trial assessment of "The Number Race", an adaptive computer game for remediation of dyscalculia". Behav Brain Funct 2: 20. doi:10.1186/1744-9081-2-20. PMC 1523349. PMID 16734906. 
  19. ^ Hatton, Darla; Hatton, Kaila. "Apps to Help Students With Dyscalculia and Math Difficulties". National Center for Learning Disabilities and Math Difficulties. Retrieved Mar 26, 2014. 
  20. ^ Callaway, Ewen (Jan 9, 2013). "Dyscalculia: Number games". Nature. Retrieved Mar 26, 2014. 
  21. ^ Cohen Kadosh, Roi; Soskic, Sonja; Iuculano, Teresa; Kanai, Ryota; Walsh, Vincent (2010). Modulating Neuronal Activity Produces Specific and Long-Lasting Changes in Numerical Competence "Modulating Neuronal Activity Produces Specific and Long-Lasting Changes in Numerical Competence". Current Biology 20 (22): 2016–2020. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2010.10.007. ISSN 0960-9822. 

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