Log in

Math Curse

Support for people with innumeracy

Dyscalculics Unite
Posting Access:
All Members , Moderated
Support for dyscalculics/people with math difficulties.
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. -Albert Einstein

Dyscalculia is a term meaning "specific learning disability in mathematics". The term Dyscalculia is derived from new-Latin stems, there being two words or word stems being distinguishable in it. The word stem "dys" indicates that a state of dysfunction is involved. The word "calculus", which comes originally from Greek, denoting in direct translation a stone used for making calculations. The resulting word, Dyscalculia, means difficulties in performing mathematical calculations of certain types. Dys means deficit, and is used in words like Dyslexia (reading deficit), Dysphasia (language deficit) and Dyscalculia (math ability deficit). While learning disabilities in areas of literacy like Dyslexia are now widely recognized, in the area of numeracy as with Dyscalculia, they are most definitely not. People who suffer with a poor memory for all things mathematical have many other symptoms and characteristics.


Dyscalculia has several underlying causes. One of the most prominent is a weakness in visual processing. To be successful in mathematics, one needs to be able to visualize numbers and mathematics situations. Students with dyscalculia have a very difficult time visualizing numbers and often mentally mix up the numbers, resulting in what appear to be "stupid mistakes."

Another problem is with sequencing. Students who have difficulty sequencing or organizing detailed information often have difficulty remembering specific facts and formulas for completing their mathematical calculations.


Many individuals with disabilities have histories of academic failure that contribute to the development of learned helplessness in mathematics. It is important that mathematics instructors recognize the symptoms of dyscalculia and take the necessary measures to help students that are affected.

Some of the symptoms include:

Dyscalculic individuals might have spatial problems and difficulty aligning numbers into proper columns.

Trouble with sequence, including left/right orientation. They will read numbers out of sequence and sometimes do operations backwards. They also become confused on the sequences of past or future events.

They typically have problems with mathematics concepts in word problems, confuse similar numbers (e.g., 7 and 9; 3 and 8), and have difficulty using a calculator.

It is common for people with dyscalculia to have normal or accelerated language acquisition: verbal, reading, writing, and good visual memory for the printed word. They are typically good in the areas of science (until a level requiring higher mathematics skills is reached), geometry (figures with logic not formulas), and creative arts.

Dyscalculics have difficulty with the abstract concepts of time and direction (e.g. inability to recall schedules, and unable to keep track of time). They may be chronically late.

Mistaken recollection of names. Poor name/face retrieval. Substitute names beginning with same letter.

They have inconsistent results in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They often have have poor mental mathematics ability. They are poor with money and credit and cannot do financial planning or budgeting (e.g. balancing a checkbook). Short term, not long term financial thinking. May have fear of money and cash transactions. May be unable to mentally figure change due back, the amounts to pay for tips, taxes, etc .

When writing, reading and recalling numbers, these common mistakes are made: number additions, substitutions, transpositions, omissions, and reversals.

Inability to grasp and remember mathematics concepts, rules formulas, sequence (order of operations), and basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. Poor long-term memory (retention & retrieval) of concept mastery. They understand material as they are being shown it, but when they must retrieve the information they become confused and are unable to do so. They may be able to perform mathematics operations one day, but draw a blank the next. May be able to do book work but can fails all tests and quizzes.

May be unable to comprehend or "picture" mechanical processes. Lack "big picture/ whole picture" thinking. Poor ability to "visualize or picture" the location of the numbers on the face of a clock, the geographical locations of states, countries, oceans, streets, etc.
Poor memory for the "layout" of things. Gets lost or disoriented easily. May have a poor sense of direction, loose things often, and seem absent minded. May have difficulty grasping concepts of formal music education. Difficulty sight-reading music, learning fingering to play an instrument, etc.

May have poor athletic coordination, difficulty keeping up with rapidly changing physical directions like in aerobic, dance, and exercise classes. Difficulty remembering dance step sequences rules for playing sports. Difficulty keeping score during games, or difficulty remembering how to keep score in games, like bowling, etc. Often looses track of whose turn it is during games, like cards and board games. Limited strategic planning ability for games, like chess.


Please keep in mind above all else, that not all people who have trouble with math necessarily do have Dyscalculia. Not to discourage anyone by any means. On the contrary, if someone feels strongly enough about it, especially after doing the research, they should look into getting tested to see if they have the learning disability, or if something else might account for math troubles. It is a bit costly, but there are always alternatives and people who are willing to work with you. You just need to have the motivation to get off your butt and pursue it. That's where the majority of the problem lies. People learn there's a chance they might have a learning disability, but they never actually pursue it to try and get compensation. Partly because of all the threats of paperwork and long waits.

In the end, it is well worth every second it takes.

Also keep in mind that no two people who happen to have Dyscalculia are exactly alike. You DO NOT have to exhibit ALL of the symptoms suggested on this site or others to actually qualify as having Dyscalculia. The severity of the disability varies from individual to individual. For instance, one person could have a very good sense of direction. Another would say they couldn't go around the corner from their house without getting lost. This applies for other learning disabilities, as well as does it apply to certain diseases. Just because you don't show all the signs suggested, doesn't mean you don't have it. The only way you will really know for certain, and the only way it will help you if you plan to take it to your educational authorities, is to get the proper testing done.


This is a community to offer understanding and support, as well as advice on coping with this often painful and crippling disability. There are no set rules for this community. Just play nice.

~-~ Websites ~-~
Coming Soon

~-~ Related Communities (includes some communities for related disabilities) ~-~
weknowdisabled: We know what it's like to live with disabilities.
learn_disabled: Learning about learning.
ld_adults: Learning disabled adults.
as_partner: Partners of the neurologicaly interesting. A space for the partners and significant others of people on the austistic spectrum.
dyspraxia: The dyspraxic Community.
disabled_rage: This is a rage community for venting. And we all need to vent sometimes.

If you know of any communities you'd like to add to this list - feel free to contact a mod.

The maintainers here are: dcmisner, and twinkling_aqua.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Let us know!

How else can you help? Spread the word about this community so people can find us!

Related YouTube Videos
by sunflowrgoddess (creator of the community) - http://youtube.com/watch?v=1Q7WV2Jgri8

by GiRTheDuck

Dyscalculia related -

Feel free to use this banner to spread the word about us. Or create your own. :)