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Is math daunting to you or your child? Is it an area of struggle at school, are all tasks involving number avoided? Many describe themselves as “mathphobic” and believe they will never improve their math ability. This blog will show you that, in fact, you can strengthen your brain and transform your relationship with math. 

In the educational world, students struggling with mathematics and related skills are often diagnosed with Dyscalculia. This, along with other common labels include Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Auditory Memory, Visual Memory, Auditory Processing, Non-Verbal Learning, and Attention Difficulties or ADHD, typically lead to recommendations to change the curriculum or workload of these students.

These labels do not however, identify the source of the learning problem. Accommodations and modifications may work around the problem or deal with the surface level symptoms, and will not lead to enduring solutions, nor change the learner.

Arrowsmith has a unique understanding of struggles with mathematics, and more importantly, a solution to fundamentally address the struggle.

Learn About the Arrowsmith Cognitive Assessment

In this blog, we’ll examine the underlying causes of math issues, and introduce a solution that transforms someone’s math phobia into a math strength.

What is Dyscalculia? 

Dyscalculia is a diagnosis given to those who struggle with understanding and manipulating numbers and mathematical concepts, making it difficult to learn mathematics and developmental practical numeracy skills.

Signs include:

  • difficulty counting backwards
  • difficulty remembering math facts
  • slow to perform calculation
  • difficulty making change
  • poor sense of time management
  • difficulty in understanding place value
  • mental calculations are challenging
  • inability to grasp concepts or reason mathematically
  • mathematics anxiety

Issues of Dyscalculia, sometimes known as math Dyslexia, extend beyond the classroom - everyday tasks like time management and budgeting might also be a daily struggle. 

Statistically, characteristics of Dyscalculia in adults are associated with lower salaries, depression, challenges following schedules, and a lower likelihood of owning a home. 

Going Under the Label to Address Dyscalculia 

The Arrowsmith Program identifies the range of cognitive functions causing a Dyscalculia diagnosis, including:

  • Symbol Relations: Mathematical reasoning
  • Quantification Sense: Sense of number, quantification and mental calculation
  • Predicative Speech: Sequential logic necessary for learning math procedures
  • Motor Symbol Sequencing: Motor plans used in tracking and jotting down numbers
  • Symbol Recognition: Visual memory for numbers and formulae

When one or any combination of these cognitive functions are underperforming, a task like solving a math problem can be difficult or even impossible. 

Cognitive functions operate on a continuum of capacity from debilitating to excelling. Meaning, the weaker the cognitive function, the more difficult math learning becomes. 

Math is Not the Enemy! 

Dyscalculia has often been considered lifelong, but Arrowsmith knows that through individualized cognitive programming and the principles of neuroplasticity, Dyscalculia can be overcome, leaving the struggle behind forever.

In an Arrowsmith setting, one participant may be building their strength to manipulate numbers in their head, while another targets their conceptual understanding. Others may engage in multiple programs, depending on their unique profile. No two brains are identical.

For example, read our blog - Benefits of Strengthening the Symbol Relations Cognitive Function with the Cognitive Intensive Program - to see how strengthening the Symbol Relations cognitive function transforms one’s ability to learn mathematics. 

No Dyscalculia accommodation, nor math curriculum modification, will fundamentally change the brain of the learner. The solution is a strategy of Neuroplastic programming and a dedicated system of support: from here, Dyscalculia can be addressed and the power and elegance of mathematics can be discovered.   

Interested in learning more about how Arrowsmith can transform the struggles related to diagnoses like Dyscalculia for your school or members of your family? Get in touch with our team of experts today and find out how to strengthen brains and improve learning outcomes. 


Tara Bonner
Post by Tara Bonner
August 11, 2023
Tara Bonner collaborates with professionals and educators worldwide, envisioning the convergence of learning and neuroscience. Tara has witnessed that cognitive programming can be a transformative force not just for struggling learners, but for all seeking to experience learning with ease and joy. She's honored to be part of these discussions and an organization that's revolutionizing education by putting the "Brain in Education."