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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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Visuospatial Dyscalculia: Characteristics and Treatment

Dyscalculia is a learning disorder that can present in a very heterogeneous form. When the most evident problems are at the level of visuospatial information processing, we can speak of visuospatial dyscalculia.

visuospatial dyscalculia
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What is Dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia is a learning disorder that affects a person’s ability to understand and perform mathematical calculations. It is characterized by persistent difficulties in learning and applying basic mathematical skills, which can affect academic performance and daily activities. People with dyscalculia may have difficulty learning and memorizing multiplication tables, understanding abstract mathematical concepts, performing mental or written calculations, understanding mathematical problems, and performing simple arithmetic calculations. Dyscalculia is not related to a person’s intelligence, but instead it is a specific learning disorder.

According to some authors (Wilson & Dehaene,2007; Karagiannakis et al., 2014), there can be different types of dyscalculia and, one of these types, is visuospatial dyscalculia.

Visuospatial Dyscalculia

There are several studies that suggest thatvisuospatial abilities can predict mathematics performance in children (Tosto et al., 2014). In general, visuospatial skills are fundamental to many arithmetic tasks. Multidigit computations, for example, depend on the ability to spatially organize the execution of the algorithm while maintaining the alignment of columns and rows.

Visuospatial dyscalculia is a learning disorder that affects a person’s ability to understand and manipulate mathematical concepts that involve spatial orientation, such as:

  • Understanding patterns.
  • Perception of the relative location of objects.
  • Identification of symmetries.
  • Understanding diagrams and maps.
  • Spatial representation of numbers.

In addition, people with visuospatial dyscalculia may have difficulty understanding abstract mathematical concepts, solving geometry problems, and performing arithmetic calculations (especially if these calculations are written).


If a student has significant difficulties learning mathematics, parents and teachers should consult a school psychologist with expertise in dyscalculia, or refer the student for a complete evaluation.

The evaluation should include psychological tests of intelligence, attention, and reading, along with specific math tests.

In the case of visuospatial dyscalculia the child will have more severe difficulties in the tests that evaluate:

  • Written calculations.
  • Geometry.
  • Recognition of digits and mathematical symbols.


After the diagnosis, it is necessary to turn to all psycho-pedagogical resources to try to help children improve their performance. The intervention, which needs to be specific and comprehensive, must be carried out respecting the specific characteristics of each child and placing more emphasis on those challenges that manifest themselves in a more severe form.00 In general, children with dyscalculia need, daily exercises adapted to their needs based on the understanding of concepts and procedures, and with use of manipulative materials that facilitate numerical comprehension.

To learn more about exercises that can be included in an intervention program to work basic number skills, check out our post on activities to improve dyscalculia.

If you have doubts about the possibility that your child has dyscalculia, do not hesitate to use Smartick’s free dyscalculia test. In the case of dyscalculia, early detection and attention in children helps to reduce difficulties.


  • Tosto, M. G., Hanscombe, K. B., Haworth, C. M., Davis, O. S., Petrill, S. A., Dale, P. S., … & Kovas, Y. (2014). Why do spatial abilities predict mathematical performance?. Developmental science, 17(3), 462-470.
  • Wilson, A. J., & Dehaene, S. (2007). Number sense and developmental dyscalculia. In D. Coch, G. Dawson, & K. W Fischer (Eds.), Human behavior, learning, and the developing brain: Atypical development (pp. 212-238). The Guilford Press.
  • Karagiannakis, G., Baccaglini-Frank, A., & Papadatos, Y. (2014). Mathematical learning difficulties subtypes classification. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 8, 57.
Hiwet Costa
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