If you’ve always felt dumb because you are hopeless at maths, here is some good news: you could be suffering from a little known condition called dyscalculia.
Many people struggle with algebra and find calculus incomprehensible, but there is another group who are baffled by the basics.
“An adult who is dyscalculic might find it hard to manage their finances because the numbers don’t mean that much to them, to estimate how much money they had spent at the supermarket before they go to the till,” says Auckland University’s Anna Wilson.
Dyscalculia is as common as dyslexia, but most of us have never heard of it.
For people with dyscalculia what seem like relatively simple tasks – such as counting out change when you go shopping – can prove extremely difficult.
Now researchers at Auckland University want to find out why some brains are so slow to process and understand numbers and simple maths.
At school, children who are dyscalculic fall quickly behind their classmates.
Wilson says: “At a very young age they will be slow to learn to count, they will probably have great trouble remembering simple arithmetic facts such as times tables and addition facts.”
It is a problem they share with some famous faces. Singer Cher, writer Hans Christian Andersen and Henry ‘the Fonz’ Winkler, are dyscalculic – and like half of sufferers, are also dyslexic.
The researchers need volunteers aged 18 to 35 in the Auckland area, who have trouble with maths or reading, to take part in a series of tests.
Eventually they hope that their study will help to diagnose children at an early stage so this kind of confusion can be addressed.
Edited by Countess on April 22 2008 08:21 PM
'You should really be sympathetic to people who suffer 'Normalism' (Geoff)
My Child (born 97) has Dyscalculia
Sorry for any spelling mistakes ;-)