Dyslexia is commonly associated with difficulties in reading and interpreting letters and words. Some people might struggle with understanding numbers and be confused if they have dyslexia. However, they might be suffering from a condition called dyscalculia. Dyscalculia, primarily, involves challenges in understanding numbers and mathematical concepts.

Understanding the Difference Between Dyslexia and Dyscalculia 

Dyslexia affects an individual’s ability to understand words and language, while dyscalculia affects the ability to understand mathematics and numerical concepts. Thus, both conditions might share a lot of similarities, but they also have a few key differences that can have completely different impacts on the lives of people suffering from them  Understanding these differences is crucial to making the right diagnosis and getting the right treatment. However, dyslexia and dyscalculia can co-occur as well, almost half the children with dyscalculia have dyslexia as well, leading to difficulties in diagnosis and treatment.

Understanding Dyscalculia 

Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability that affects a person’s ability to understand and deal with numbers. So people with dyscalculia might struggle with any tasks that require them to deal with numbers, like counting, doing mental calculations, recognizing numeric patterns, or recalling mathematical facts. Some common symptoms of dyscalculia in adults include:

  1. Feelings of anxiety when dealing with mathematical problems at work.
  2. Difficulty understanding simple mathematical calculations
  3. Difficulty in counting backwards
  4. Difficulty understanding figures, graphs and charts
  5. Giving different answers to the same mathematical task
  6. Troubles in keeping track of finances or handling financial transactions
  7. Frequently misjudging the time to complete a task or reach a destination when driving

What Causes Dyscalculia?

The exact cause of dyscalculia is unknown as of now, but research suggests that it might be due to differences in the brain’s structure and also in the way it functions. Some potential causes of dyscalculia are:

  • Genetics and Hereditary

Dyscalculia often runs in families, suggesting that it can be passed down through our genes. For instance, if one twin has dyscalculia, there’s a 58% chance that their identical twin and a 39% chance that a non-identical twin will also have dyscalculia. This link isn’t just between twins. Parents and siblings of individuals with dyscalculia are also more likely to have it. Thus, genetics seems to play an important role in the development of dyscalculia

  • Brain Development

Researchers have found key differences in the brains of people with dyscalculia and those without it. lia. These differences are in how the brain is shaped and how it works in areas related to learning skills. Researchers have also found that people can develop dyscalculia in adulthood or later parts of their lives as a result of traumatic injuries to certain parts of their brains. This condition is known as acquired dyscalculia.

Treating Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia can be managed and treated with the help of various strategies. A special educator may be required for the same. A few ways to treat dyscalculia in children are:

  • Repeated practice with mathematical problems
  • Breaking down difficult mathematical concepts into small parts
  • Studying with a small group of children

Treating dyscalculia in adults can be challenging, but there are ways in which it can be managed. Some of them are:

  • Practice mental exercises that can help strengthen mathematical skills
  • Rely on the calculator and other technology if calculations seem overwhelming
  • Have math tables and conversion tables pasted in your workspace if your job involves calculations


It’s important to note that dyscalculia can coexist with other learning difficulties or conditions, and its impact can vary among individuals. Diagnosis and support from special educators and psychologists can help adults with dyscalculia develop strategies to manage their challenges and succeed in both academic and work tasks. If you see yourself or anyone around you with symptoms of dyscalculia, it is advisable to consult a qualified professional.


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  3. Dyscalculia Treatment: Accommodations for School and Work. (n.d.). Retrieved January 8, 2024, from https://www.additudemag.com/dyscalculia-treatment-accommodations-for-school-and-work/
  4. Dyscalculia: What It Is, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment. (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved January 8, 2024, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23949-dyscalculia
  5. Understanding Dyscalculia: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment. (2019, December 19). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/dyscalculia
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Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin