ADHD & Dyscalculia: Why You Struggle So Much With Math
Did you know that many people with ADHD also have learning difficulty? Some also have problems in processing language (dyslexia), while others develop impairments in mathematics (dyscalculia). In this article, we’ll talk about ADHD & Dyscalculia, as well as the ADHD symptoms that make learning math challenging.
Table of Contents
ADHD & Dyscalculia: Why You Struggle So Much With Math
1. Dyscalculia: Math Difficulties And "Fear" In Numbers
2. The Possibility To Experience Math Learning Disability
3. Are You Afraid Of Solving Math Problems?
4. When Math Problems Turn To Math Anxiety
5. How Do We Support People With Dyscalculia and ADHD?
ADHD & Dyscalculia FAQs
Dyscalculia And ADHD Math Problems
One of the most commonly known difficulties that a person with ADHD can experience is Dyscalculia. In fact, according to the latest numbers about ADHD and dyscalculia, a significant portion of the general population with ADHD tends to struggle with numbers.
What do we know about dyscalculia, and why has it become so prevalent in our ADHD community? Do children with ADHD always struggle with learning math? What can we do to overcome our struggles with different math concepts?
Dyscalculia: Math Difficulties And "Fear" In Numbers
Dyscalculia is another term for a math learning disorder in which a person has great difficulty understanding arithmetic. They may have difficulties in simple skills, like counting, or more complicated concepts, such as fractions and decimals. Many people with dyscalculia tend to avoid anything that has to do with numbers because it is just too hard for them.
For people experiencing ADHD symptoms and dyscalculia, recalling math facts and simple arithmetic formulas can be a real challenge. 😭 It can cause a lot of test anxiety and performance issues in school. Even just the simple act of shopping or doing grocery shopping can be a nightmare because you have to calculate the change correctly.
Learning disabilities, or difficulties, as I like to call them, can be in the form of dyscalculia (numbers), dyslexia (letters), dyspraxia (movement), or many other things. Our struggle in quickly understanding items, such as these basic concepts can be amplified by ADHD mainly due to our distractibility. 😵 Many children with ADHD get too attached to more exciting things and have difficulty concentrating on basic math facts and concepts.
The Possibility To Experience Math Learning Disability
During my younger years in school, I often avoid anything that has to do with numbers. 📝 I was good at art and English but not so much in Math. I did my best to avoid my math class and sometimes even act unwell so as to skip my class schedule. As soon as I run out of reasons to skip my class, I will doze off during the lesson or let my imagination wander somewhere else - otherwise, I would feel math anxiety.
When I try harder to understand mathematics and give this subject a chance, sometimes I learn the basics, 📚 but when letters start to appear on the equation, my mind can be an entangled web. It became more complicated, and I often had to ask for help because I could no longer understand what was going on.
This went on until my high school years and even in college, when I eventually gave up solving college algebra. Memorizing math facts and theories can be difficult, especially if your memory doesn't embrace the basics.
For clarification, kids with ADHD don't automatically develop problems in learning mathematics. It's just that their ADHD brains are wired differently and tend to focus on other subjects that they see as more interesting (or sometimes useful) for them.
Are You Afraid Of Solving Math Problems?
"Let's take Alice's age and divide it in half. What you'll get is twice as much as the age of her sibling. How old is Alice’s sibling?”
Some people will quit reading the statement after the first few words. For others, this can be a fun challenge. It all depends on how you look at it. However, many people with ADHD tend to see things as a threat or a daunting task 😨 rather than an opportunity to learn and grow. We tend to struggle with these activities because our ADHD symptoms get the best of us. If you have dyscalculia, these worries can be magnified.
Simple tasks, such as reading an analog clock, can take us a few minutes to accomplish. It is much easier to wear a digital watch or obtain the time from our mobile phone. The trouble we experience with this learning disorder can make us lose our self-esteem and eventually give up trying.
When Math Problems Turn To Math Anxiety
Students with ADHD who also have math learning disabilities experience it differently. Some may struggle with counting objects and may need to group them by 3s or 5s to count them quickly. Others may find it challenging to get the product of two numbers because they forgot to memorize the multiplication or times tables. Math learning, especially with ADHD and/or dyscalculia, can be a daunting task.
When our learning difficulties affect how we interact with people and their judgment negatively impacts us, anxiety and stress may quickly enter the picture. 🥺 This can be because we are constantly aware of how others perceive us and our abilities. And when we're not good at something, the feeling of shame and inadequacy can be too much to handle.
Parents, guardians, and teachers need to provide a different type of instruction for children with ADHD or dyscalculia. A more hands-on approach is often necessary because they learn best by seeing and doing things. Giving them step-by-step instructions on how to solve a problem can also be very helpful.
How Do We Support People With Dyscalculia and ADHD?
As someone who experienced difficulty learning math and other equations, I can say that a little bit of understanding and patience can go a long way. People with ADHD and dyscalculia are not slow and lazy in studying. We just have a different way of processing information. It is essential to find out what learning method works best.
If you feel that you are lagging with your studies or you can't seem to understand your math teacher, don't hesitate to ask for help. 💪 Consider talking to your guidance counselor, teachers, or parents about it. The more people are aware of your situation, the more likely you will get the support you need. Have the right tools that you can use to ease your difficulties. You can likewise create a cheat sheet to place all arithmetic facts and formulas that may be useful for you.
These tips aren't limited to people having math difficulties. Learning disabilities can make any subject a challenge. So, if you struggle in school, don't be discouraged. Here are some things that you can do:
- ADHD can affect a person's working memory, so we often forget things quickly. One way to help with this is by using a planner or setting reminders on your phone. This can be very helpful in remembering formulas, deadlines, meetings, and other important events.
- If you have difficulty focusing, try breaking down tasks into smaller chunks so you can focus on one thing at a time. The ability to solve math questions can be developed by continuously trying to solve simple math equations. Analyze everything thoroughly, and don't be afraid to ask for help when needed.
- When you have a tough time counting, especially with money, try to solve things first on your own, then confirm the results with a calculator. Most people with ADHD often overlook the small details, which can significantly be important when solving math problems. So, it is essential to check your work and answers thoroughly before moving on to the next question.
- Ask your teachers to do a special tutoring session with you if you feel like you are struggling in class. This will help you understand the material better and prepare for exams. Ask them to provide example problem sets for the lesson for you to do. It is also an excellent way to build a positive relationship with your teachers.
I hope these tips were helpful for you. Do not hesitate to reach out for help when needed because there are people who want to support you. You are not alone in this journey! 🙌
Learning disorders, whether dyscalculia, dyslexia, or any other difficulty related to studying, can be addressed appropriately if you have the proper support to conquer them. A proper ADHD diagnosis will help you understand more about the ADHD symptoms related to your difficulties. You can also report to your mental health professional that learning can sometimes be challenging for you.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptoms are manageable, and with the help of a professional, you can take control of your symptoms and focus on your strengths. You can also develop different coping mechanisms that will help you better manage your disorder and other learning disabilities related to it. Remember that these difficulties don't define you as a person, and having trouble is fine. ❤️
ADHD and Dyscalculia: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. Why do some people with ADHD struggle with learning math? Does having ADHD mean you will automatically develop difficulties in learning arithmetic?
Some of the symptoms of ADHD make it difficult to solve math problems. For instance, ADHD-related forgetfulness can make it hard to memorize formulas. Being easily distracted also comes into play. Some people with ADHD also develop dyscalculia - a disorder causing impairment in mathematics. However, not all people with ADHD will have dyscalculia or problems learning math.
2. Can problems in learning math affect a person’s mental health?
Yes, it can. Dyscalculia and ADHD-related problems in computation can make even a simple task, like grocery shopping, stressful. Moreover, students may develop fear and anxiety in subjects with math aspects.
3. What can be done to address ADHD-related math difficulties and dyscalculia?
There are numerous ways to address ADHD-related math difficulties and dyscalculia. The most important of which is to have a proper diagnosis. You can also use tools, like phone reminders and calculators to make some tasks easier. Finally, seeking expert help from teachers and health experts is crucial.