What on earth is Maths Dyslexia?



Early signs that CHILDREN have dyslexia with numbers

  • Learning to count takes longer than peers.

  • When counting mixes up numbers or skips numbers.

  • Find it hard to hear numbers and connect them with numbers written down. Eg they can’t match up someone saying “seven” with the number 7 written down.

  • Groups of objects are difficult for them to understand. Eg if asked them to give you 6 blocks they will hand you a large group of blocks rather than counting them out.

  • Finds shapes and patterns hard to understand eg “Please hand me the small triangle shape” - they hand you the large round ball.

Signs that CHILDREN have dyslexia with numbers in School

  • Basic addition and subtract sums are complicated for them. eg 2 + 4 = 6 or 6 - 5 = 1

  • Mental arithmetic is very hard for them and constantly use their fingers to count.

  • Mathematic symbols eg + - x ÷ are confusing for them to use correctly.

  • Learning to tell the time is tricky for them.

  • Great confusion surrounding Greater Than >, Less Than < .

  • Has trouble organising work, often put numbers in the wrong column and get units, 10’s and hundreds confused.

  • Struggles to recognising that 3 x 6 and 6 x 3 are the same thing or 3 + 7 and 7 + 3 are equal.

  • Has trouble keeping scores in sports or board games and avoids areas of life where they have to count.

  • Working out the total cost of things is incredibly complicated for them and can often runs out of money.

Signs that TEENAGERS have dyslexia with numbers in High School 

  • Charts & graphs are complicated for them to remember how to interpret.

  • Math concepts like money and working out how much change or tip is needed is very difficult for them.

  • Trouble measuring things like ingredients in a simple recipe or calculating liquids in a bottle.

  • Lacks confidence with activities involving speed, distance and directions, and may get lost easily.

  • May understand some maths concepts but then applying them to more complex equations or when doing them by themselves for homework or in exams is incredibly difficult.

  • Learning to drive is a more complex procedure compared to those without dyslexia with numbers.

Please keep in mind that children occasionally have problems with maths but those who struggle with dyslexia with numbers will have lots more issues than other children the same age. As time goes on these issues will only increase and we suggest trying to help those who have dyslexia with numbers as soon as you can.

Dyslexia with Numbers isn’t the same issue as Math Anxiety but those who have Number Dyslexia will have anxiety while dealing with number or get frustrated when have to play games that involve numbers.

Remember Dyslexia with Numbers doesn’t mean your child might not be brilliant at bigger concept maths, some have suggested that Einstein struggled with basic maths concepts but excelled at more conceptual mathematics. So keep your child’s confidence up and you never know where they might fly. Maths Dyslexia need not stop you learning maths.

However it is essential to help them keep their confidence up as mathematical issues can have a more detrimental affect in adult life than literacy issues.

Solutions for Dyslexia with Numbers

IMAGES / VISUALS are often the answer - most dyslexic and those that have maths dyslexia have strong visual and spatial reasoning skills. So if they can see or look at a maths problem in a different way then miraculously it’s easy.

Dyslexia with Number IDEA No.1 : Imagine maths concepts and learn times tables

Beads or Objects : For younger children who you suspect have Dyslexia with number touching and feeling numbers is a fantastic way to get round the issue . Give them 18 beads and ask them to divide into 3 piles, no problem they can do it easily. However ask them what 3 x 6 = and they will look pained, embarrassed and confused.

Once they understand the physical concept of splitting up objects they still need to memorise their times table and dividing otherwise most maths equations are incredibly complicated. Try sites like Table Fables which uses comedy animation to teach basic maths concept that have incredible results as it uses visuals to teach.

Dyslexia with Number IDEA No.2 : reduce anxiety

When children are anxious about numbers this can further hinder their relationship with maths. So if these anxieties can be reduced then scientist have discovered maths scores can be greatly be increased.

1. WRITE DOWN ANXIETY : Get children or adults to write down their maths fears, then get them to find rational solutions.

eg Anxiety = “I hate maths exams I always do really badly as my mind goes blank and I can’t remember what to do.”

Rational solution = “If I learning a breathing exercises to reduce my anxiety I will improve my test results. Also if I have a solid grasp of the basic maths principles then I will be able to cope better in my maths tests.”

This process might seem futile but lots of scientific studies have proven that it does decrease anxiety and increase test scores. It’s worth a try and will only take 5 minutes.

2. BREATH : As mentioned above scientist have discovered that reducing stress enables the brain to function in more productivly and one way to reduce anxiety is learn a breathing exercises. Have a look at this Ted talk about the benefits of breathing and how to breath. One method that has a lot of scientist research behind it is the Wim Hof method. He’s rather eccentric but there is a lot of evidence to suggest it works.

Teachers, tutors or parents need to keep in mind that children who have dyslexia with numbers may simply misunderstand words or symbols rather than not understand the whole math problem. Children who are dyslexic with numbers may be very good at working out harder mathematical concepts we just need to unlock their ‘Super Einstein Powers’ and watch them sore.

Good luck.