Dyscalculia (specific learning difficulties)

Updated: 23/08/16

Research suggests that dyscalculia is a specific learning disability (SpLD) that affects a person’s ability to acquire arithmetical skills. It can manifest itself as a person’s inability to understand basic number concepts and/or number relationships, recognise symbols, and comprehend quantitative and spatial information.

Many people liken the effects of dyscalculia with numbers to that of dyslexia with words, and while there are many characteristics that overlap, there is no proven link between the two.
Research suggests that, like many SpLDs, dyscalculia has varying levels of severity and can affect different areas of mathematical calculations. These difficulties can have an adverse effect on many day-to-day activities such as dealing with finances, following directions, managing a diary and keeping track of time.

It is estimated that between 4% and 6% of the population have dyscalculia. However, this research is based on data from children, and figures relating specifically to the adult population are non-existent. For this reason, and because of limited understanding and recognition of dyscalculia, it is unidentified in many people.

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