Having a poor "gut sense" of numbers can lead to a mathematical learning disability and difficulty in achieving basic math proficiency, a new study has found.
This inaccurate number sense is just one cause of math learning disabilities, according to the research led by Michele Mazzocco, Director of the Math Skills Development Project at Kennedy Krieger.
Approximately 6 to 14 percent of school-age children have persistent difficulty with mathematics, despite adequate learning opportunities and age-appropriate achievement in other school subjects.
These learning difficulties can have lifelong consequences when it comes to job success and financial decision-making.
The new Kennedy Krieger study showed that children with a confirmed mathematical learning disability (MLD) have a markedly inaccurate number sense compared to their peers.
Mazzocco said students without a MLD who were below average in achievement performed on the number sense tasks as well as those considered average. For them, number sense doesn't seem to be the trouble.
"Some children have a remarkably imprecise intuitive sense of numbers, and we believe these children have math learning disability, at least in part, due to deficits in this intuitive type of number sense," he added.
The study has been published in the journal Child Development.