Developmental dyscalculia

J Child Neurol. 2004 Oct;19(10):765-71. doi: 10.1177/08830738040190100601.


Developmental dyscalculia is a specific learning disability affecting the normal acquisition of arithmetic skills. Genetic, neurobiologic, and epidemiologic evidence indicates that dyscalculia, like other learning disabilities, is a brain-based disorder. However, poor teaching and environmental deprivation have also been implicated in its etiology. Because the neural network of both hemispheres comprises the substrate of normal arithmetic skills, dyscalculia can result from dysfunction of either hemisphere, although the left parietotemporal area is of particular significance. The prevalence of developmental dyscalculia is 5 to 6% in the school-aged population and is as common in girls as in boys. Dyscalculia can occur as a consequence of prematurity and low birthweight and is frequently encountered in a variety of neurologic disorders, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), developmental language disorder, epilepsy, and fragile X syndrome. Developmental dyscalculia has proven to be a persisting learning disability, at least for the short term, in about half of affected preteen pupils. Educational interventions for dyscalculia range from rote learning of arithmetic facts to developing strategies for solving arithmetic exercises. The long-term prognosis of dyscalculia and the role of remediation in its outcome are yet to be determined.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities* / diagnosis
  • Learning Disabilities* / therapy
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Psychological
  • Problem Solving
  • Prognosis