WHAT IS DYSCALCULIA?
Dyscalculia is a specific learning difficulty (SpLD) where the CYP has consistent difficulty understanding numbers. This can mean that the CYP has a difficulty with Maths and other subjects that rely on data such as Science and Psychology. Dyscalculia does not mean that the CYP lacks intelligence; in fact, the difficulty with numbers is shown by being markedly different to other areas of learning. Dyscalculia can affect anyone regardless of level of intelligence.
SYMPTOMS OF DYSCALCULIA
A CYP with Dyscalculia may show:
§ Difficulty remembering number facts despite support
§ Show no strategies for overcoming the lack of recall
§ Difficulty counting backwards, estimating and having a sense of number
§ Difficulty in understanding place value
§ A lack of speed when answering calculations
§ Avoidance of mathematical tasks
§ Weak mental arithmetic
§ Forgetfulness with mathematical operations
§ Inability to know if their answer is nearly right 'guestimation'
HOW IS DYSCALCULIA DIAGNOSED?
If you suspect Dyscalculia, speak to the SENCo at school. If the school sees symptoms, then a screener may be recommended. This will give an indication whether Dyscalculia is a possibility. Most schools will use this to change the provision for the CYP and allow for progress, therefore a diagnosis isn't always useful as it will not change the support the CYP receives at school. If a diagnosis is important, then Dyscalculia can ONLY be diagnosed by a suitably qualified specialist teacher - they need to hold a postgraduate (Level 7) AMBDA accredited course or equivalent which leads to an Assessment Practising Certificate (APC).
HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT DYSCALCULIA?
Please see here and here for further information.
HOW CAN I HELP IN SCHOOL?
Please see below for ideas on how to help.
Avoid rapid fire instructions.
Break instructions down into smaller chunks and give time to digest.
Repeat instructions and encourage pupil to repeat back instructions for themselves.
Spatial awareness and navigational skills
Provide a quiet and clearly laid out environment for study.
Use structured seating plans
Carefully consider any partnering strategies.
Value of money, giving change and paying for things
Use visual aids and ‘play money’ to help embed learning.
Relate to real life situations and, where possible, complete practical tasks in real life situations i.e. visit to a shop.
Keep practising number bonds until change from £1 can be mentally calculated quickly
Use micro scripts, if needed, for real life situations where change is involved and practice them through role play
Abstract concepts such as time
Link to familiar, relevant and practical contexts i.e. school timetables
Ensure that the use of now and next is consistently correct
Use visual aids to break down the times of the day / months etc
Start with basic sequences and do not move on until these are embedded.
Encourage the pupil to repeat and practise what they have learnt.
Use a wide range of objects, images and models to support learning i.e. number lines.
Allow for prediction and explanation of the prediction