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What is Dyscalculia?

This is a term used to indicate a lack of ability to perform mathematical calculations. This condition is associated with neurological dysfunction.

Students with Dyscalculia have difficulty processing numbers. It is a significant learning disability, often showing up in students with other learning difficulties, which can mask the Dyscalculia. It is not related to any lack of intellectual ability.

If a student has difficulty following lines of text or numbers, working out problems is impaired. For example: a ‘+’ sign can look very much like an ‘x’ , which makes solving problems such as 4+1 become 4x1 which results in a different, and wrong, answer. Although research is improving on why this happens, remediation may require a variety of techniques to be assessed for their effectiveness with an individual learner.

Some indicators of Dyscalculia are:

  • Inability to learn how to tell the time on an analogue clock, after a reasonable period of instruction
  • Inability to understand the size of numbers
  • Inability to count change and understand the actual amounts of money involved

After a diagnosis has been made using a specialist assessment, some activities may assist with remediation:

  • Games where counting is involved, such as snakes and ladders,
  • Games such as Scrabble where players are asked to add up very small numbers and are instantly rewarded,
  • Using concrete items to represent numbers, and manipulating these to obtain an answer,
  • Rote learning when the student has an understanding of the value of numbers

Adapted from: Butterworth B ‘The Mathematical Brain’; London; Papermac; 2000

For a detailed, free information pack on how SPELD NZ can help, please click here.

We can post or email you everything you need to get underway or to download all the forms yourself, please click here to go to our LINKS page.

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