Dyscalculia is another term for a learning disability in math, meaning that the individual has difficulty learning or comprehending arithmetic. An important thing to remember is that dyscalculia is not related to a person’s intelligence or level of motivation for learning – it simply means that the individual has particular challenges with math.
You might be wondering what kinds of things contribute to a learning disability in math. One is visual-spatial difficulty, which can include problems lining up numbers, difficulty with regrouping or inefficiency visualizing patterns. Another is difficulty with language processing, which is an inefficiency with word problems or mastering the vocabulary of math.
When an individual struggles to master basic math facts at an early age, s/he does not automatize math information. When challenged to move on to higher-order arithmetic, struggles with basic calculations occur, despite understanding the concepts involved. Difficulties following multi-step procedures and identifying critical information needed to solve complex problems also may occur.
Because several causes and potential co-occurring difficulties may stem from this disability – things like attention problems and non-verbal learning disorder, or NLD – a comprehensive evaluation can start the process of understanding the challenges related to dyscalculia.