Developmental dyscalculia is a specific learning disability affecting the acquisition of arithmetic skills in an otherwise-normal child. Although poor teaching, environmental deprivation, and low intelligence have been implicated in the etiology of developmental dyscalculia, current data indicate that this learning disability is a brain-based disorder with a familial-genetic predisposition. The neurologic substrate of developmental dyscalculia is thought to involve both hemispheres, particularly the left parietotemporal areas. Developmental dyscalculia is a common cognitive handicap; its prevalence in the school population is about 5-6%, a frequency similar to those of developmental dyslexia and attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder. Unlike these, however, it is as common in females as in males. Developmental dyscalculia frequently is encountered in neurologic disorders, examples of which include attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, developmental language disorder, epilepsy, and fragile X syndrome. The long-term prognosis of developmental dyscalculia is unknown; it appears, however, to persist, at least for the short-term, in about half of affected preteen children. The consequences of developmental dyscalculia and its impact on education, employment, and psychologic well-being of affected individuals are unknown. Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science Inc.
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