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What is Dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia is an under-researched learning difficulty worldwide and as a result, there is little guidance for teachers on how to support students with the condition. We would like to take this opportunity to provide you with some valuable insights into dyscalculia, the indicators and how to assess it. It is estimated that between 5% and 8% of children have dyscalculia.

What is Dyscalculia?

Many academics have tried to define dyscalculia.

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The below definitions are the ones most commonly used:

  • Dyscalculia is a condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills. Dyscalculic learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers, and have problems learning number facts and procedures. Even if they produce a correct answer or use a correct method, they may do so mechanically and without confidence. (DfES 2001)
  • A congenital condition: its effects on the learning of numerical skills can be very profound. (Butterworth)
  • Dysfunction in the reception, comprehension or production of quantitative and spatial information (Sharma).

Indicators of Dyscalculia

There are many indicators of dyscalculia and not all of them are maths related. These include:

  • An inability to subitise even very small quantities
  • Poor number sense
  • An inability to estimate whether a numerical answer is reasonable
  • Inability to notice patterns
  • Inability to generalise
  • Slow processing speed
  • Immature strategies – for example counting all instead of counting on
  • Weaknesses in both short-term and long-term memory
  • An inability to count backwards reliably
  • Weakness in visual and spatial orientation
  • Directional confusion
  • Difficulty sequencing
  • Difficulty with language
  • Poor memory for facts and procedures
  • Difficulties in word problems and multi-step calculations
  • Problems with all aspects of money
  • Marked delay in learning to tell the time

Pupils are really enjoying using the program. The results with one particularly hard to motivate have been amazing!

Carter's Charity Primary School -Janina Callery

Improving the wellbeing of children with dyslexia and dyscalculia

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