Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Do you joke that you’re not a “numbers person”? If so, you may be among the estimated 1 in 20 adults impacted by dyscalculia, a sort of math dyslexia. And that could make you easy prey for certain consumer scams or at least more likely to make poor money choices, according to an article by “The RedTape Chronicles” blogger Bob Sullivan.

The implications of this disorder for high school algebra students are obvious; but the nightmare it can cause adult consumers is a far more serious -- and largely misunderstood -- social problem.

Dyscalculics often can't count change, said Professor Brian Butterworth, of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, and perhaps the world's leading dyscalculia expert.  They don't understand interest calculation or exchange rates.  By the time they become adults, they are so insecure about numbers that they frequently cede all money issues to others, a recipe for disaster.

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