The most common characteristic of children with mathematical disorders is a difficulty in retrieving basic
arithmetic facts. Different hypotheses about the underlying cause and the specificity of this deficit have been postulated.
Some of them are general (such as low speed-of-processing or difficulties in retrieving semantic information from longterm
memory), others are more specific (such as problems with material requiring verbal routines or a deficit in representing
or accessing arithmetic facts). To clarify this, children with poor arithmetic facts abilities (PoorAF) and control children
of the same age performed five computerized tasks requiring the retrieval of information from long-term memory
such as the product of multiplication facts, words semantically related to a target, objects functionally associated with a
target, countries corresponding to a capital city presented as target, and the final word of incomplete French proverbs. In
addition, a perceptual task was used as a measure of children’s processing speed. It was found that children with PoorAF
were significantly slower than control children only in the arithmetic retrieval task. These findings support the hypothesis
of a specific numerical deficit altering the retrieval of the arithmetic network from long-term memory.