Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Mathematics disorder

Definition

Mathematics disorder is a condition in which a child's math ability is far below normal for their age, intelligence, and education.

Alternative Names

Developmental dyscalculia

Causes

Children who have mathematics disorder have trouble with simple mathematical equations, such as counting and adding.

Mathematical disorder may appear with:

Symptoms

The child may have trouble with math, as well as low scores in math classes and on tests.

Problems the child may have are:

  • Trouble with reading, writing, and copying numbers
  • Problems counting and adding numbers, often making simple mistakes
  • Hard time telling the difference between adding and subtracting
  • Problems understanding math symbols and word problems
  • Can't line up numbers properly to add, subtract, or multiply
  • Can't arrange numbers from smallest to largest, or the opposite
  • Can't understand graphs

Exams and Tests

Standardized tests can assess the child's math ability. Grades and class performance can also help.

Treatment

The best treatment is special (remedial) education. Computer-based programs may also help.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Early intervention improves the chances of a better outcome.

Possible Complications

The child may have problems in school, including behavior problems and loss of self-esteem. Some children with mathematics disorder become anxious or afraid when given math problems, making the problem even worse.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have any concerns about your child's development.

Prevention

Recognizing the problem early is important. Treatment may begin as early as kindergarten or elementary school.

References

Kelly DP, Natale MJ. Neurodevelopmental function and dysfunction in the school-aged child. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 32.

Nass R, Sidhu R, Ross G. Autism and other developmental disabilities. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SK, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 90.

Review Date:5/18/2016
Reviewed By:Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, Phd, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

Health
Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

Health Encyclopedia

More Features

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No