Dyscalculia is a life-long learning disability involving the inability to deal with mathematical concepts. There is no single form of this disability and the effects it can have vary widely from person to person. It's important to note that just because a student has trouble learning math, doesn't mean they have a learning disability.
The effects of dyscalculia will be different and depend on which area of mathematical ability is affected. The two major areas of weakness responsible for learning disabilities in maths are visual-spatial problems (when the brain has trouble processing what the eyes see) and language processing difficulties (when the brain has trouble processing what the ears hear).
The person with visual-spatial problems will face different challenges than a person who has the language processing difficulty. However, with alternate learning methods, students with dyscalculia can learn to achieve.
There are some common warning signs that can indicate the presence of dyscalculia.
Young children with dyscalculia experience trouble learning to count, recognizing printed numbers and have a poor memory for numbers. They have trouble with tasks like sorting, recognizing patterns, comparing and contrasting concepts such as bigger/smaller, and matching numbers with amounts.
School age children have difficulties solving basic computations (addition, subtraction etc) and struggle to retains maths facts such as times tables. They also find applying maths knowledge to solve problems difficult to do.
Children with the visual-spatial weakness may understand the math, but have a lot of trouble organising it on paper. Reading from the board or a textbook can also be a challenge for these students.