Can I Learn Coding While Having Dyscalculia?

Last Updated on October 7, 2023 by Editorial Team

Coding today has turned out to be an essential language like English rather than a skill. From creating a website to daily appliances like smart televisions and washing machines, coding is everywhere. Grasping the significance of such a paramount skill has been exciting for students to learn. But, can children who have difficulty in performing math become avid coders? 

Consequently, many parents and instructors wonder if Dyscalculics can absorb such skills. In this post, we will explore pertinent traits that may restrict them. We will also talk about the relationship between coding and Dyscalculia by inferring the benefits coding can offer. 

While dyscalculia can stipulate additional efforts when dealing with plenty of regular and abstract concepts of mathematics, it is not necessarily the case when it comes to learning and practicing coding. 

Coding and Dyscalculia: comprehending the relevant catches

In elementary words, coding is the process of communicating with a computer through a language that instructs it on what you expect it to do. When you write a code, you specifically dictate how the computer must interpret it and how it can use the instructions to fetch your expected results. Mathematics and coding are closely linked, as you work with different algorithms and programs. Mathematics is the study of abstraction, which is very similar to what coding is- bridging reality and concepts. 

No platform or teaching style is probably perfect for every student. While one kid may sense it is easy to learn from videos, some others may like learning with manipulatives. Further, pupils can feel some notions taxing no matter how they learn it. In case of compromises like dyscalculia, learners may take time to comprehend numbers, symbols, and structures, which account for a reasonable fraction of coding. 

Elucidated below are the two most common challenges that dyscalculics may face while learning to code owing to the nature of this programming language:

1. Apprehending Syntaxes and numbers 

Numbers and symbols evidently account for integral parts of coding. Sometimes kids get bewildered in grasping syntaxes, making them struggle to move around blocks of code. Fortunately, multiple visual learning tools like Scratch and Blockly can aid in boosting their skills in coding, making them grasp symbols and numbers more finer.

2. Structuring of the Codes

Coding is all about improvising, adjusting, and ameliorating the flexibility of a certain piece of code, which means the whole language is open-ended with multiple possibilities and accounts for unstructured activities. 

Conclusions from research by Teresa Lucalano[1]  show that subjects like mathematics need cognition and information processing, which need multilayer complexity of the processes. Some open-ended activities have a limited structure. Thus, it is possible that students with dyscalculia may face issues when dealing with multilayered problems. 

The reason behind this is that layering a particular code structure on top as a scaffold and then breaking it down can be challenging for them. Consequently, multi-layered coding problems may sound overwhelming to them while learning the language, be it, kids or adults.

Coding-  An asset to emerge out of dyscalculia?

Despite being taxing to confer, coding can ensure a number of edges in personality apart from making Dyscalculics master that skill. These can turn them into better individuals inculcating attributes like extraversion, perseverance, and problem-solving abilities. Let’s comprehend all of these in detail.

1. Social Skills and Associations

Preaching coding to dyscalculics can potentially have a number of positive effects on their brain as well as personality. Beyond cool tech application creations, learning to create codes can also inculcate crucial social and teamwork skills in these individuals. It is seen that kids often lack social skills and avoid participating in group activities.

Building something by learning to code requires students to work in a team. Research by Muel Kaptein[2] shows that teamwork is one of the crucial business codes in multinational firms, which applies to codes too. For example, to work on a robotics project, the coder will have to have a team for building, designing, and programming a robot to make it effectively functional. 

Coding may assist individuals to collaborate and coordinate, working on a team level and consequently enhancing social skills.

2. Persistence

One thing that is consistent in most coders is the perseverance to solve a coding problem. Coding and debugging a tool or software can often be confusing at times. While grasping coding, if an element of code does not work, the learner has to rethink the whole idea from scratch and scrutinize where the problem lies. This can help build perseverance in every learner.

Perseverance at doing something or solving something can help kids in the long run since it is possible for them to get demotivated easily. Further, it would be fair to comprehend that such special needs children must be offered a chance to conquer obstacles themselves before one may look to assist them. Such practices can aid them in getting tough

3. Analytical Skills

One thing that is common in both math and coding is the analytical abilities they stipulate. Coding requires learners to follow a strategized methodical process to solve problems and come up with solutions that will push them further to their desired output, which requires them to break down large and complex issues into smaller challenges and then find a solution to each of these obstacles.

Research by Aditi Bapte[3] shows that dyscalculics need to improve problem-solving and thus analytical abilities. For such individuals striving to acquire analytical skills, learning to code, and constantly practicing it can assist them in overcoming complications. It may further assist in ameliorating mathematical skills, which often need analytics as a base.

4. Composure and Assertiveness

Whenever a dyscalculic or anyone learning to code solves a piece of code and fits it into the bigger programming picture to make it work, they may evidently feel accomplished. Since coding follows a trial-and-error approach, dyscalculics may greatly benefit from boosted self-confidence once they get a piece of code right. 

While researches like that of Jeevan Jyoti[4] shows that there is no significant difference in self-confidence in discrete dyscalculics.  Composure along with self-confidence may assist them in engaging in the learning process better while also potentially helping them perform better in academics 

Strategies to grasp it!

From a breaking revolution to the smallest of changes, coding is at the heart of the modern technology-driven era. Being integrated into the digital world for communication, service exchange, and navigation, this skill can be perceived to be a form of literacy.

Comprehending the challenges, it can be ensured that relevant pedagogies can conquer these. While programming needs the individual to be logical, they may take time to learn it with their short-term memory issues[5]. Sooner or later, they can perform coding as a result of rigorous training. People like Emma King prove that Dyscalculics can have the zeal to grasp new skills.

People even with some number compromises can opt for certain working strategies apart from practicing to master coding:

  • Strengthen the basics: Learning the basics is crucial for skills like math and coding. Knowing the relevant syntaxes, and proper use of if-else and other functions can ease out the work later. Even large codes are made up of these building blocks.
  • Learn from multiple Resources: Relying on one source can be boring and taxing to follow. It is often a great strategy to follow more than one source to get trained. For instance, reading books along with some videos on the internet can aid. Further, ensure to grasp small pieces of information at a time, For example: prefer a small video lecture over a large one. Some quick tips on social media can be an excellent idea. 
  • Maintain a good Debugger: A debugger is software that compiles the code and lets the coder know if the code is all right. Processing the right compiler can not only find bugs but also show the areas where the individual needs to improve. 
  • Grasp new concepts frequently: No matter how many notions a person grasps, there can be some new arrivals that need thorough learning. Sometimes, coders may need to know how to apply functions like do-while in distinct scenarios with minor changes in syntaxes.


Similar to the custom-tailored pedagogies for notions like math and other subjects, relevant modifications in the learning methods can ensure success. Further, skills like perseverance, problem-solving, and social skills can be inherently inculcated via coding. Employing strategies like manipulatives, trial and error methods, and focusing on functionalities can make the case better. Coming out of baseless perceptions is pivotal to looking into relevant insights in conquering compromises.


  1. Stanford University. (2018). Systems Neuroscience of Mathematical Cognition and Learning: Basic Organization and Neural Sources of Heterogeneity in Typical and Atypical Development. Teresa Iuculano.
  2. Journal of Business Ethics. (2004, March). Business Codes of Multinational Firms: What Do They Say? Muel Kaptein.
  3. Vashishtha, K. (2018). Problem solving skills processing speed index and reasoning skills as determinants of the executive functioning in the students with dyscalculia.
  4. Self- Confidence among Dyscalculic Elementary School Students of Shimla District. (2016). Jeevan Jyoti.
  5. Developmental dyscalculia is related to visuospatial memory and inhibition impairment☆. (2013, December). Denes Szucs.

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