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What is dyscalculia?

For a number of years there has been a lot of confusion around dyscalculia, with some teachers stating that it is the name for the maths difficulties that some dyslexic pupils experience.

However, this is not correct and in 2020 the SpLD Assessment Standards Committee, (SASC), provided new guidance and a definition of dyscalculia which is:

"Dyscalculia is a specific and persistent difficulty in understanding numbers, which can lead to a diverse range of difficulties with mathematics. It will be unexpected in relation to age, level of education and experience and occurs across all ages and abilities. Mathematics difficulties are best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and they have many causal factors. Dyscalculia falls at one end of the spectrum and will be distinguishable from other maths issues due to the severity of difficulties with number sense, including subitising, symbolic and non-symbolic magnitude comparison, and ordering. It can occur singly but often co-occurs with other specific learning difficulties, mathematics anxiety and medical conditions."

They also state that there are 3 categories of maths problem:

· A Specific Learning Difficulty that is a core problem with number sense, (which we have defined as dyscalculia)

· Other Specific Learning Difficulties that do not include a problem with number sense, but which may have an impact upon mathematics.

· Mathematical difficulties arising from environmental factors or other medical conditions. It will be unexpected in relation to age, level of education and experience and occurs across all ages and abilities.

Dyscalculic symptoms

  • · Inability to subitise

  • · Poor number sense

  • · Difficulty with estimating

  • · Weak sense of number

  • · Difficulty counting backwards

  • · Finds number related activities difficult

How to help

  • Reduce anxiety

  • · Done rely on rote learning

  • · Go back to basics

  • · Use concrete material to support your child

  • · Provide lots of overlearning

  • · Allow use of a number line and times tables square

  • · Provide prompt/ memory cards for procedures

  • · Employ a dyslexia /dyscalculia Specialist Tutor

  • · Consider using an online programme such as Dynamo Maths

Websites to help

Contact dittas for online support for dyscalculia or maths difficulties.

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