Judy Hornigold | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

What causes dyscalculia?

Researchers generally agree that dyscalculia is a brain-based condition. Several possible causes have been suggested:

Studies have shown that a learner with dyscalculia often has a sibling or parent with similar mathematical difficulties. So it is believed that dyscalculia is hereditary.

Brain Differences
MRI scans have been used to identify areas in the brain that are thought to be responsible for dyscalculia. There appear to be differences in the surface area, thickness and volume of parts of the brain that are used in memory and keeping track of a task.

There is evidence linking dyscalculia with exposure to alcohol in the womb. Prematurity and low birth weight may also play a role in dyscalculia.

Working Memory
Working memory plays a large part in mental addition as well as planning and organisation.  So, poor working memory could cause many of the difficulties seen in learners with dyscalculia.