## Dyscalculia

## What is it?

The DfES defines dyscalculia as:

‘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.’

‘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.’

## Symptoms

theschoolroom.com offer:

There are different types of dyscalculia ranging from moderate to severe. A child most likely will be performing below expectations and have specific difficulties in certain areas, such as understanding number values or directions.

Number operations such as addition and subtraction may cause difficulties and children may struggle to distinguish between the symbols, not understanding that sometimes there needs to be differences, such as dividing or multiplying, or even that there is more than one way to carry out a sum. Translating the mathematical problem into concrete or physical examples can also prove challenging.

There are different types of dyscalculia ranging from moderate to severe. A child most likely will be performing below expectations and have specific difficulties in certain areas, such as understanding number values or directions.

Number operations such as addition and subtraction may cause difficulties and children may struggle to distinguish between the symbols, not understanding that sometimes there needs to be differences, such as dividing or multiplying, or even that there is more than one way to carry out a sum. Translating the mathematical problem into concrete or physical examples can also prove challenging.

**Children with dyscalculia may also have difficulties with:**- Understanding sequences and instructions
- Money – that a coin may represent different values, giving change and paying for things
- Acquiring spatial orientation and navigational skills – distinguishing left from right and map directions
- Understanding abstract concepts such as time – that a clock represents time and that time can be past, present and future.

## How can it affect Maths?

Where do we start? Steve Chinn, a respected expert in this field, reminds us that ‘Understanding maths is a much more robust outcome than just trying to remember maths.’. There are no short cuts. Concepts have to be properly explained and the use of concrete manipulatives is advised, so that the student can move slowly from concrete to abstract. It is unlikely that the dyscalculiac will be able to make, let alone accept, a leap of faith.