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Is Your Child Having Difficulty in Math? He Might Have Dyscalculia.

Math is a subject many kids truly detest considering the concepts they will need to be familiar with to solve a particular problem. In Singapore, math is a very important subject to learn and master because it will be an integral part of their educational and career future.

While such disposition on kids can be remedied by a more interesting take on math, there are kids who may find it difficult to learn math because of a learning condition. What is this condition?

Learning issue called Dyscalculia

A learning condition in children may vary depending on your child’s age and what is causing them to have problems. If your child has dyscalculia, here are some of the notable symptoms which you may notice as they do their math problems:

In Preschool 

  • Your child is unable to count 10s up to 100s
  • They find it difficult to point and count objects in a group
  • They cannot understand that numbers can be used to describe a group with a value.
  • It is difficult for them to recognize and write numbers to the 20s.
  • They tend to skip numbers when they count even if their peers can already count up to the 100s in order.
  • Patterns and sorting items based on their characteristics are hard for them to do.

In Lower Primary 

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  • They could not count by 2s, 5s or 10s.
  • Mental calculation for addition and subtraction is impossible.
  • They could not recognize basic signs like plus or minus.
  • They are unable to recognize higher numbers and can get it confused with something else.

In Upper Primary

  • They cannot distinguish from “more than” and “less than”
  • Basic math is difficult for them to do.
  • They cannot make the connection between math facts.
  • They cannot recognize numerals or written numbers.
  • They still use fingers to count or compute.
  • Their line numerals are not in order as they solve their math problems.
  • They do not know what is left and which is right.
  • You cannot play with them in strategy games.
  • They can’t tell what the time is.

In Secondary School

  • They cannot apply math in real life.
  • They cannot read maps or charts.
  • They do not join activities which require speed and distance.

If you notice any one of these symptoms and it lasts for six months, you need to speak with their teacher or to a doctor so you can intervene and help them with their problems.

What Can Cause Trouble with Math?

It is a given that math is a very challenging subject on its own and for a child to master it successfully, several factors must be taken into account. It would involve their memory and analytical abilities.

If your kid does well in other subjects and only has problems with math, dyscalculia is possibly the cause of the problem. However, here are the other possibilities which can cause the problem:

1. Dyscalculia
This brain condition makes it difficult for the brain to recognize numbers and related concepts. Studies say that 3 to 6% of the population may have this problem. It is important to remember that having dyscalculia is not a sign of a child having low intelligence because they still do well in other subjects. However, the signs of dyscalculia can vary with kids so they will need to be monitored accordingly for these signs.

2. Dyslexia
This condition mostly affects a child’s reading capability, as well as their spelling, speaking and mathematical ability. If they cannot count or unable to answer word problems, it may be caused by dyslexia. Some kids may have both dyslexia and dyscalculia which makes their learning difficult.

3. Math anxiety
Some children tend to get stressed when it comes to doing math subjects to the point they cannot answer their exams properly.

4. Visual processing disorder
If your child cannot recognize patterns or read maps and charts, it is possible they have a visual processing disorder.

For children with ADHD, it is difficult for them to stay focused in their classes. As a result, this may affect their mathematical performance.

How Can You Get Answers?

If your child cannot keep up with their math classes, you can do a lot of things to help them keep up. Once you find out the cause of the problem, you can now apply several techniques to bolster their mathematical ability.

Here are some things you can take once you determine the problem:

Speak with your child’s teacher
Teachers can help you determine the cause of your child’s difficulty in math as they can observe your child while at school. Compare your observations with them and determine how serious the problem is. When they are made aware of the issue, teachers can apply new techniques to help your kids understand their lessons.

• Get your child evaluated
You can also ask your child’s school to give your child a special education evaluation to determine if they would require assistance in learning their subjects. Depending on the results, these exams would give the school support as to how they can teach your child properly.

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• Speak to a doctor
Your child’s doctor can also provide you with some answers as to why your child is unable to handle math. They can help you determine if medical conditions are affecting your kids, and how to treat it.

• Seek the advice of a specialist
You can also seek the help of educational psychologists who can test your kids to determine where they are actually struggling.

What Can You Do Now?

While your child is at home, you can apply several steps to help your child understand and learn math easier.

Here are some steps you can try out:

• Make mathematical games
A good way for kids to learn and practice their math skills is by making it fun through simple games. You can ask them to help you sort your laundry or even measure cooking ingredients.

• Make Math Fun through Apps
You can also utilize apps designed to assist kids to learn more about math and turn learning into a game.

Help your kid’s confidence
You can also help your kid become confident with math by reminding them where their strengths lay and work from there.

• Take notes
While your child tries to do their homework at home, try taking notes of their behavior and their struggles. When you notice the patterns through your notes, you can use it as a guide to finding better means to help your kids learn their subjects better.

Try other strategies
You can also try out other strategies that can help bolster your kid’s learning skills. You can tutor your kid or request a tutor who offers maths tuition to come in to help them with their homework and review.

Talk to other parents
You are not alone with your kid’s plight with math. Look online for sites where parents can discuss techniques to help kids struggling with their lessons.


Before you try to solve your child’s problems with math, it is important you know the cause since there are many reasons why they find it so difficult to do math problems. Math is a critical subject that every child must be able to do and understand since it is applicable to daily life.

Does your child require more assistance in Math? Here are some useful articles:

6 Things Singapore Parents Need To Know About Secondary 1 Math
Solving PSLE Math Problem Sums: No Problem!


Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.