Developmental dyscalculia: prevalence and prognosis

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Abstract

The prevalence of developmental dyscalculia (DC) in the school population ranges from 3–6%, a frequency similar to that of developmental dyslexia and ADHD. These studies fulfilled the criteria for an adequate prevalence study, i.e., were population based, using standardized measures to evaluate arithmetic function. Although the variation in prevalence is within a narrow range, the differences are probably due to which definition of dyscalculia was used, the age the diagnosis was made and the instrument chosen to test for DC. The relative predominance of girls with DC may reflect a greater vulnerability to environmental influences alone or in addition to a biological predisposition. DC is not only encountered as a specific learning disability but also in diverse neurological disorders, examples of which include ADHD, developmental language disorder, epilepsy, treated phenylketonuria and Fragile X syndrome. Although the long-term prognosis of DC is as yet unknown, current data indicate that DC is a stable learning disability persisting, at least for the short term, in about half of affected children. The long-term consequences of DC and its impact on education, employment and psychological well-being have yet to be determined.