Dyscalculia (dyslexia with numbers) can significantly impact your quality of life. Learn some helpful techniques for coping with it.
Some learning differences get more spotlight than others. ADHD and dyslexia are widely recognized, so it’s easier to notice them earlier. As you may know, dyslexia is a learning disability involving word problems like reading and writing. However, not as many people know that the same can happen with numbers.
In this article, you’ll learn about dyscalculia, an uncommon but important learning difficulty there should be more awareness around.
What is dyscalculia?
Dyscalculia (often referred to as “number dyslexia” or “math dyslexia”) is a learning impairment involving difficulties understanding mathematical concepts or number facts.
There are two broad types of dyscalculia. Developmental dyscalculia signifies a notable difference between a person’s developmental level and understanding of math concepts. The second type doesn’t have a specific name and indicates a person’s complete inability of mathematical reasoning.
It’s worth mentioning that math difficulties are a spectrum rather than a specific learning disorder. Dyscalculia falls on this spectrum, and the extent of the impairment can vary greatly.
The signs of dyscalculia
Dyscalculia manifests differently throughout a person’s life. Here’s a breakdown of the main signs in different life stages:
- Trouble counting
- Issues connecting numbers to objects
- Problems recognizing or categorizing patterns
- Difficulty learning math facts
- Inability to use mental math
- Math problem-solving issues
- Avoiding basic maths
- Issues with subtraction or presenting fractions as graphs
- Issues interpreting graphs or timetables
- Difficulty measuring items’ weight or height
- Problems applying maths concepts to everyday life (e.g., money)
- Difficulty counting backward
- High maths anxiety
- Poor mental arithmetic skills
- Poor value estimation or number sense
- Issues understanding place value
Of course, these are only some of the many possible dyscalculia symptoms. If you notice some of them or have been diagnosed with dyscalculia, you can manage the disability in several ways.
Strategies for coping with dyscalculia
In many cases, people with dyscalculia require some form of special education that will adapt the learning process to their learning differences. While this is helpful, it may not be enough to cope with dyscalculia effectively throughout your life. Luckily, there are many strategies you can rely on.
Talk out problems
Understanding numbers is difficult for people with dyscalculia because they find them abstract and can’t create logical connections between mathematical elements.
An effective way to counter this is to write or speak out a math problem. Doing so makes it easier to create relationships between numbers and concepts.
Besides speaking and writing, drawing is an excellent math learning strategy for those affected by dyscalculia. Visualizing a problem helps create a logical interpretation of it and improves working memory by letting you memorize different elements in your way.
Break tasks down
Much like dyslexic people get overwhelmed by large amounts of unstructured text, dyscalculic people might freeze in front of a complex math problem. This can be a significant issue, especially for those pursuing higher education in a math-dominated field.
To overcome this issue, it’s best to break the problem down into basic components and operations. That way, it’ll seem manageable.
Use real-life cues
Learners can rely on countable objects and physical cues to visualize and apply math concepts to everyday life.
For example, measuring cups or rulers can help dyscalculic people see how different measurements work in real life. Similarly, physical or digital manipulatives, such as boards, counters, or abacuses, can help with introductory algebra and create visual-spatial relationships.
Regularly review your work
One of the biggest struggles of dyscalculic people is information retention. The main reason they find it hard to learn advanced maths is their lack of previous math skills or knowledge.
This is why regular reviews of previous work can be beneficial. With the help of visual tools or cues, they solidify prior knowledge and let dyscalculic people apply it more easily in the future. Of course, it may take quite some time and practice to achieve these, so patience and persistence are crucial.
Speechify – a TTS reader that verbalizes math problems
As mentioned, TTS readers are beneficial for coping with dyscalculia. It can be easier to understand and solve a spoken math problem than a written one. If you’re looking for an app that turns any text into audio, Speechify is a great option.
Speechify is a TTS platform that takes any digital or printed text and turns it into high-quality audio. You can scan any file, physical document, or book to have the content spoken in a human-like voice.
If you’re dealing with dyscalculia, you can use Speechify to turn your math textbooks and materials into easily-digestible audio files you can listen to wherever you are. It’s available on iOS and Android devices and has a dedicated Mac app. You can also use the Chrome and Safari extensions if you want to use Speechify with web browsers. Whether you’re solving math problems on your desktop or on the go, Speechify will support you.
Speechify’s system has over 30 natural-sounding voices and supports more than 20 languages. This makes the platform suitable for international students or those working abroad.
If you want to see how Speechify’s many features support dyscalculic people, you can try it for free.
What do you call dyslexia with numbers?
Dyscalculia is usually referred to as dyslexia with numbers. However, it’s not a subcategory of dyslexia but a specific learning disability.
What are some possible effects of dyslexia with numbers?
Dyscalculia makes it harder to retain numerical information and solve mathematical problems. This can have various real-life implications, such as issues with managing money.
How does dyscalculia differ from dysgraphia?
While dyscalculia is specific to numbers, dysgraphia is an umbrella term used to describe various writing issues related to numbers and letters.