Is Dyslexia Connected With Numbers And Math?

Although dyslexia specifically refers to reading difficulty, there is considerable overlap between the difficulty of reading letters and words and the difficulty of “reading” numbers.

In both processes, the child needs to translate visual stimuli into verbal concepts that are then referenced in long-term memory. If any step in the system is dysfunctional, the child will struggle significantly.

Read Next: What does a dyslexia evaluation look like?

Is number dyslexia a real thing?

With the prevalence of all learning disorders estimated to be somewhere between 5-15% of the population as reported in the DSM (APA, 2014), the overlap between dyscalculia and dyslexia has a comorbidity rate of around 40% of the positive cases.

Some researchers have found similarities in both processes in deficits in:

  • processing speed,
  • working memory,
  • long-term retrieval.

In addition, there have been studies that have identified shared areas of hypoactive brain activation.

However, there are particular skills necessary for reading that are not as relevant in math ability and vice versa.

Perceiving and processing sound in the phonological areas of the brain have been shown to be impaired in many children with dyslexia, but have not been implicated in math disabilities.

In contrast, right-brain spatial processing has been shown to impact math ability and is only partially related to reading deficits.

Neuropsych Evaluations For Learning Disorders

Overall, given the high comorbidity rates for reading and math learning disorders, it’s necessary to have a comprehensive evaluation of a child’s learning abilities. The intervention plan should address not just the end result but also the specific deficits that contribute to the child’s struggles with learning.

A neuropsych evaluation with Dr. Malkin can identify the presence of a reading and/or math learning disorder in your child. He will also recommend the best teaching techniques and learning styles for your child’s specific deficits in order to help them succeed.