Mathematics disorder

Mathematics disorder is a condition characterized by mathematical ability substantially below expected given a child’s age, general intelligence, and education.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors 

Children who have mathematics disorder may have trouble performing simple mathematical equations, such as counting and adding. These abilities are critical for the success later in school.

Mathematical disorder may appear in combination with reading disorder, developmental coordination disorder, and mixed receptive-expressive language disorder.


  • Early difficulties with arithmetic  
  • Trouble with counting and adding  
  • Low scores in mathematics

Signs and tests 

Standardized tests are of greatest value in assessing the mathematical ability, as is corroborating history from grades and class performance.

The best treatment is remedial education. Other programs that have been successful are “Project Math” and teaching computer skills.

Expectations (prognosis) 
Early intervention improves the chances of a better outcome.

The child may have problems in school, including behavior problems and loss of self-esteem.

Calling your health care provider 
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have any concerns about your child’s development.

Affected families should make every effort to recognize existing problems early. Intervention may begin as early as kindergarten or elementary school age.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Janet G. Derge, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.