Signs & Symptoms of Dyscalculia

Signs of dyscalculia - Dybuster

Dyscalculia receives less press than does dyslexia. Parents and teachers may not even be aware that dyscalculia exists, much less recognise what could be signs of the learning difference. We’ve put together a list of things to watch out for if you think your child may have a learning disability in math.

Some of these signs are more established through research while others have been reported by teachers, parents, or dyscalculics themselves.

Signs of dyscalculia

  • Slowness in learning to count
  • Difficulty in comparing quantities (larger vs. smaller)
  • Difficulty in recognising quantities, even small numbers of objects
  • Difficulty in understanding “math words” such as “greater” or “less than”
  • Lagging behind peers in learning simple arithmetic such as easy addition
  • Reliance on slow methods of performing math, such as counting on fingers for addition or adding up numbers for multiplication
  • Difficulty in telling time from an analog clock
  • Difficulty in keeping track of time
  • Inability to count out change or estimate costs
  • Anxiety when faced with number-related tasks; math anxiety

The presence of one or more of these signs does not necessarily add up to a dyscalculia diagnosis.

If you think your child or student may have a learning disability then an evaluation from a professional is a key step to getting a child the support that he or she needs. But with this list perhaps educators and parents can become more aware of dyscalculia and how it affects children at home and in the classroom.

More information is available on sites such as, the Learning Disabilities Association of America, and the British Dyslexia Association. You can also contact us for information on our intervention software for dyscalculia.

Calcularis Learning Games: Helping to Solve Dyscalculia

Calcularis learning game for dyscalculia

Judging quantities, performing simple arithmetic, picturing numbers on a number line: all of these tasks can cause severe frustration to someone with dyscalculia. Math problems that pose no difficulty to their peers, can seem incomprehensible to dyscalculic children.

An inability to deal with numbers can leave dyscalculics with deep feelings of anxiety and inferiority when faced with anything math-related, such as counting out change or remembering the multiplication tables.

When children with dyscalculia play the Dybuster Calcularis learning games, the software gradually helps the brain to develop new learning channels and to automate mathematical processes. User studies have shown these games to be very effective: students using the software over a period of three months improved their addition skills by 30% and subtraction skills by 40%.

The games are designed to develop both numerical understanding and arithmetic operations. Students practice numbers as quantities, number words, Arabic numerals and positions on a number ray. Children progress from comparing amounts, to adding and subtracting with colored blocks, to multiplying and dividing. As their skills increase, dyscalculics also gain confidence in their own number abilities.

The results of the users studies involving Dybuster Calcularis were published in the following peer-reviewed publications:

Study about the neurplastic changes: K. Kucian, U. Grond, S. Rotzer, B. Henzi, C. Schönmann, F. Plangger, M. Gälli, E. Martin, M. von Aster. Mental number line training in children with developmental dyscalculia. NeuroImage, Neuroimage, 57(3):782-95, 2011

User adaptation, improvements in HRT (Addition/Subtraction): T. Käser, A. G. Busetto, G.-M. Baschera, J. Kohn, K. Kucian, M. von Aster, and M. Gross. Modelling and Optimizing the Process of Learning Mathematics. Proceedings of ITS (Chania, Greece, 14-18 June, 2012), pp 389-398, 2012

User adaptation, study 2011: T. Käser, G.-M. Baschera, J. Kohn, K. Kucian, V. Richtmann, U. Grond, M. Gross, and M. von Aster. Design and evaluation of the computer-based training program Calcularis for enhancing numerical cognition. Frontiers in Developmental Psychology, 4: 489, 2013

But our favorite reviews come from the parents, teachers, and students who use our software:

Tracking progress in Calcularis. Parents, teachers, and students can easily see how far a child has come in developing math skills.

Tracking progress in Calcularis. Parents, teachers, and students can easily see how far a child has come in developing math skills.

“As a mother, I am extremely impressed by Dybuster.” – Katharina, mother

“I like the fact that I can use Dybuster on my computer at home instead of having to visit a therapist.” – Jonathan, 12 years old

Like to test out the learning games yourself? Please visit the Calcularis website and download your free trial.



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TEDx Talk by Markus Gross on Dybuster’s Software

TEDx talks are the local version of TED, conferences that spread ideas and bring in speakers on a large range of topics.

One of the speakers at Zurich’s event in 2015 was Markus Gross, head Computer Graphics Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich and instrumental in the founding of Dybuster.

Markus told of his own experience as the father of a dyslexic and as a computer scientist looking for ways to help students with dyslexia.

Below you can watch this short dynamic introduction to the multi-modal learning developed by Markus and Dybuster. Learn how the struggles of Markus’s son Adrian with dyslexia led to the development of intervention software Orthograph, and eventually to the use of the same approach applied to dyscalculia in Calcularis.

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