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Dyscalculia is a learning disorder that affects an individual's ability to do math. Early diagnosis can help to avoid poor school performance
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Acalculia and Dyscalculia: Similarities and Differences

Acalculia and dyscalculia are two disorders that affect the ability to process numbers and perform mathematical calculations. In today’s article, we will look at the main differences between these two conditions.

acalculia and dyscalculia
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Acalculia is a cognitive disorder that affects the ability to perform mathematical calculations. It may be caused by brain damage in specific areas of the brain related to mathematics, like the right parietal area. Symptoms include difficulty counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, as well as understanding basic mathematical concepts.

It may manifest as difficulty remembering numbers, understanding mathematical instructions or performing basic mathematical operations. Acalculia may be temporary or permanent, and can be caused by brain injury or neurodegenerative disease. Treatment of acalculia may vary depending on the underlying cause. However, there are treatment options, such as cognitive therapies and educational therapies, that can help improve the ability to perform mathematical calculations.


Dyscalculia is a specific mathematics learning disorder characterized by difficulty in learning and understanding basic mathematical concepts, such as numbers and operations. It can also manifest itself as difficulty in solving mathematical problems and following mathematical instructions.

Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty reading, writing and understanding numbers
  • Difficulty understanding simple mathematical concepts, such as order of operations
  • Difficulty understanding space and the relationship between objects.

Dyscalculia can be a genetic or neurological problem and is often associated with other learning disorders, such as dyslexia.

Although dyscalculia is more common in children and young adults, it can also occur in adults. Dyscalculia can be treated with educational and cognitive therapy and appropriate classroom adaptations.

Acalculia and dyscalculia: Main differences

Although acalculia and dyscalculia are two disorders that affect the ability to process numbers and perform mathematical calculations, it is important to highlight the main differences between these two disorders.

  • Acalculia refers to an inability to perform mathematical operations and understand basic mathematical concepts, even if the individual has mathematical knowledge, while dyscalculia refers to specific difficulties in the process of learning mathematics.
  • Acalculia can occur in people of any age, especially in older people who have suffered brain damage, while dyscalculia is diagnosed mainly in children and young adults.
  • Acalculia is a cognitive disorder caused by brain damage or neurodegenerative disease, while dyscalculia is a specific learning disorder of neurological origin.
  • Acalculia may be temporary or permanent, while dyscalculia is usually permanent.

Acalculia and dyscalculia: Similarities

However, there are some similarities between acalculia and dyscalculia, among them are:

  • Both disorders affect the ability to perform mathematical calculations and understand basic mathematical concepts.
  • Acalculia and dyscalculia can interfere with the ability to follow math instructions and solve math problems.
  • Both can affect academic and work performance.

Acalculia and dyscalculia affect the daily lives of people with these disorders. In fact, people with acalculia and dyscalculia because of their numerical information processing challenges may have difficulty performing tasks such as counting change in a store, paying bills, or using accurate measurements when cooking. They may also have trouble understanding the concept of time, including difficulty telling time, making plans for the future, or calculating the amount of time that has passed between two events.

In the case of dyscalculia Early detection and attention in children helps to reduce difficulties. Smartick’s free dyscalculia test can help parents, teachers and professionals by providing information about the risk of having dyscalculia. If you have any concerns about the possibility of your child having dyscalculia, do not hesitate to consult with a specialist.

Hiwet Costa
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