Dyscalculia and other math disabilities may be more common than ever know, but schools haven’t been testing for them.

The U.S. education system doesn’t have a good track record with learning disabilities. What resources there are has primarily focused on identifying and supporting students with reading disabilities, such as dyslexia, leaving students with math disabilities like dyscalculia underserved. Experts emphasize that the lack of research and attention on math disorders has repercussions for affected students.

The consequences of these learning challenges extend beyond individual students. Math scores in the U.S. have remained persistently low, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the problem. Many children may struggle with undiagnosed math disabilities, hindering their progress and potentially contributing to the overall poor performance in math.

To address this issue effectively, educators and experts suggest that finding the best methods for teaching students with math disabilities, like dyscalculia, could improve math instruction for all students, not just the estimated 7% affected. A more structured and systematic approach to math education is recommended for students with these disabilities.

One significant challenge is the lack of training for teachers to work with students who have math disabilities. Currently, few states require training for math disability awareness or support. While progress is being made in some areas, the federal and broader state-level commitment to addressing this issue remains limited.

The cost of seeking outside specialists and tutors to support students with math disabilities can be substantial, and many parents have to take on this burden themselves. It’s clear that greater awareness and support are needed to help these students succeed in math. In some districts, initiatives to screen students for math disabilities and introduce effective teaching methods are showing promise, but a comprehensive approach at the national level remains elusive.

Ultimately, understanding and accommodating students with math disabilities can lead to more inclusive and effective math education, benefiting all students. It’s a call to recognize that struggling with math isn’t a sign of being “bad at math” but rather a need for tailored support and teaching methods.