10 Common Myths About Dyscalculia

Last Updated on October 16, 2023 by Editorial Team


Dyscalculia is a developmental concern commonly recognized by difficulties with basic numerical and arithmetic concepts. While dyscalculia has no particular cure, it is a learning difference that can be overcome by early identification and interventions.

But for the individual to get diagnosed and access these tools that could help in their optimum development and growth, it is important that everyone around them is appraised about what dyscalculia is and what it is not.

Myths, usually perpetuated by a lack of accurate information, infamously prevent access to help by either minimizing the concern or catastrophizing it.

In this post, we will discuss and bust some common myths about dyscalculia.

Common Myths about Dyscalculia

Learning disabilities like dyslexia and dyscalculia can have a number of myths, as people can often fall prey to the false information floating around. 

1. All children who reverse or confuse numbers have dyscalculia

Not all children who have difficulty understanding or making out the differences between various similar-looking numbers have dyscalculia. Conversely, dyscalculia is not just the difficulty in identifying numbers.

This could be one of the symptoms or difficulties that might show up for people with dyscalculia. There are several other difficulties that people with dyscalculia face, like understanding mathematical concepts, geometrical shapes, and figures, doing calculations, computations, number manipulations, etc[1].

2. Dyscalculia is just math dyslexia

Dyscalculia is referred to as math dyslexia in day-to-day language. However, it is imperative to point out and remember that they are not the same conditions with interchangeable names. Simply put, being bad at math, and having dyscalculia are two very different things. 

While both dyslexia and dyscalculia are developmental concerns that lead to challenges with learning, the type of learning they affect and their impacts on other areas of life are quite different. 

Dyscalculia impacts the individual’s ability to deal with number and math-related problems. But, it also trickles down and has consequences for other skills and activities. For example, people with dyscalculia can have trouble with money management, finding directions, physical coordination, etc[1].

3. Everyone with dyscalculia has the same issues

Dyscalculia results primarily in difficulties with math and number-related problems. However, the way these problems manifest and show up in real life and the classroom can be different for every individual.

While some people could have trouble understanding algebra and basic formulas, others could have trouble with calculus, integration, and differentiation. The subsequent intervention to help with the concerns would also differ from individual to individual, depending upon their strengths and learning styles.

4. Difficulty with advanced mathematics is dyscalculia

Students can face difficulties with advanced maths due to various reasons. It could be that the current approach to teaching is not suiting their learning styles, or they are more interested in other subjects. Whatever might be the reason, difficulty with only advanced mathematics is not a symptom of dyscalculia. 

Usually, people with dyscalculia have difficulties with the more basic math problems, numbers, and computation issues. People with developmental concerns start showing symptoms as early as during their pre-school years. Problems like not being able to do advanced mathematics usually happen during the middle and high school years. 

Additionally, people with dyscalculia can also learn to do advanced mathematics with the help of alternate learning techniques and approaches that suit their needs and build on their strengths.

5. People with dyscalculia can never do math

Dyscalculia is no doubt a daunting developmental concern with no particular cure. But, it can be overcome by using alternative approaches to learning. An example of the same could include a multisensory approach, which delivers information through various senses so that children can absorb the most out of the classes. 

Support from parents and teachers can also be crucial in identifying, understanding, and then finding strategies to overcome the concerns. 

6. People with dyscalculia also have dyslexia, autism, etc

Comorbidity of dyscalculia with other developmental concerns like dyslexia and autism is possible. But, more often than not, dyscalculia happens in isolation with no other developmental concerns facing the individual.

Dyscalculia is a developmental concern that is not caused by or causes other developmental concerns. While studies on dyscalculia and its causes are limited, the ones that are available implicate a combination of biological factors, experience-related factors, and other comorbid conditions[2]

7. Dyscalculia is very rare

Recent studies have shown that dyscalculia is almost as prevalent as dyslexia. Although, it is not as well researched and understood. 

Epidemiological studies have found the prevalence of dyscalculia to be around 5% in primary school children. 20% to 60% of the individuals affected by dyscalculia have also been found to be affected by dyslexia or attention deficit disorder[3]

With or without other comorbidities, identification, and diagnosis of dyscalculia are essential in getting the help required to circumvent the difficulties that might arise because of the same.

8. Dyscalculia can be overcome with age

Developmental concerns like dyscalculia are not just outgrown or overcome with age. While there are no specific cures for dyscalculia, there are several tools and interventions that can help the individual find alternate ways to learn and master concepts they otherwise have difficulty with. Early identification and interventions play a key role in making sure developmental concerns are diagnosed on time and don’t lead to any further issues with healthy development.

9. People with dyscalculia are not smart

Dyscalculia, as a learning concern, can be overcome by using alternative methods of teaching and learning. With suitable accommodations and interventions, individuals with dyscalculia can do well in school, at work, and in other spheres of their lives. 

Some people with developmental concerns have been known to do exceptionally well in their respective fields. Albert Einstein, a groundbreaking theoretical physicist, and Kiera Knightley, an award-winning actress, are examples of the same.

10. People with dyscalculia are just being lazy

Individuals with dyscalculia often try very hard to understand concepts and solve problems that don’t come so easily to them. Lack of understanding and support from people in their environment can lead to feelings of frustration and failure, which can, in turn, lead to lowered self-esteem.

Instead of blaming individuals with learning and developmental concerns like dyscalculia, the goal should be to understand their unique learning styles and problems. This knowledge can be used to facilitate a more effective learning experience that builds on their strengths to circumvent their weaknesses.

Busting myths: Imperativeness explored 

Firstly, keeping a good check on the signs and symptoms of a learning disability like dyscalculia can help people disregard the myths in one go. In developmental concerns like dyscalculia, early identification and interventions can play pivotal roles. Both of these are only possible with people around the children having accurate information.

Myths about a condition not only prevent people from learning about something but also propagate stigmas around it. These stigmas can prove to be further roadblocks for people with these concerns, preventing them from getting the help they want and need.

Stigmas can also create an air of shame and judgment around the concerns that are quite common and perfectly manageable through some tools and accommodations. Myths or inaccurate information can lead to prejudice and discrimination[4] from people around the individual with dyscalculia. They can lose out on important career opportunities or promotions just because people around them need to be more informed. 

All of this and more can further deteriorate the individual’s mental health and development. 


Myths about any concern, especially developmental concerns, thwart seeking timely and necessary intervention. This could make all the difference in the life of the individual with dyscalculia and could result in a healthy life and development. 

This is why it is essential that we check and update our information from time to time. Addressing information from questionable sources could help in mitigating serious stigmas surrounding various concerns and promote help-seeking behavior.


  1. Kißler, C., Schwenk, C., & Kuhn, J. (2021). Two Dyscalculia Subtypes With Similar, Low Comorbidity Profiles: A Mixture Model Analysis. Frontiers in Psychology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.589506
  1. Mahmud, M. S., Zainal, M. S., Rosli, R., & Maat, S. M. (2020). Dyscalculia: What We Must Know about Students’ Learning Disability in Mathematics. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 8(12B), 8214-8222.
  1. Kaufmann, L., & Aster, M. V. (2012). The Diagnosis and Management of Dyscalculia. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 109(45), 767-778. https://doi.org/10.3238/arztebl.2012.0767
  2. Larson, J. E., & Corrigan, P. (2008). The stigma of families with mental illness. Academic psychiatry, 32(2), 87-91.

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