Dyscalculia Awareness Day
Tuesday 1 March 2022
What is dyscalculia you may ask?
It is not dissimilar to dyslexia but dyscalculia is a difficulty with numbers instead of letters. Fundamentally, people with dyscalculia find it very difficult to form relationships between numbers and their values and therefore have little “number sense”.
This impacts on their lives in lots of different ways, from not automatically knowing if a bill is too big and dealing with money to not easily being able to estimate distances and time.
But not everyone who finds maths difficult has dyscalculia. In fact only about 5% of the population is dyscalculic and it can run in families. However, about 1 in 4 people struggle with maths and this can have many causes. 60% of people with dyslexia have maths learning difficulties as a result of similar characteristics that cause difficulties with literacy, for example working memory, sequencing, recall of information, remembering facts, auditory and visual processing but they usually have a good sense of number and therefore are not necessarily dyscalculic.
Maths anxiety is also very prevalent. This comes from having had a bad experience with maths at some time in one’s life and that causes an automatic hesitancy or shut down with doing maths which starts a vicious cycle of being afraid ‘to have a go’ and then getting left behind making it even more difficult to participate. Maths anxiety is a real problem that must be taken seriously.
Specialist Teaching and Assessments
Children with dyscalculia and maths learning difficulties need specialist teaching that involves the use of concrete materials and manipulatives. They need to be able to build conceptual models – to actually see what multiplication looks like by using counters or Cuisenaire Rods before they use symbols. Symbols have no meaning without an internal understanding of underlying concepts. And therefore it can be scary. Numbers are full of patterns and relationships and children need time to explore these.
An assessment for dyscalculia can be carried by an assessor holding a specific Level 7 qualification in assessment of dyscalculia (not dyslexia) or an AMBDA Dyscalculia.
Adelle Tracey Speaking at our Dyscalculia Conference in 2021
Dominic Petronzi from Derby university s also doing a study into maths anxiety in GCSE students. If you would like further information please contact Dominic at
Ronit Bird, A Parents’ Guide to dyscalculia:
For adults: It just doesn’t add up by Paul Moorcraft.