## What is Dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia is often described as dyslexia for numbers. Dyscalculia was first termed in 1949, and yet sixty years on very little is known about this condition. Current thinking suggests that it is a congenital condition, caused by the abnormal functioning of a specific area of the brain - with the Department of Education defining dyscalculia as: ‘A condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skill’. Estimates of the prevalence of dyscalculia range between 3 and 6% of the population. Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability manifested by the difficulty in learning or comprehending mathematics. Dyscalculic learners generally have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, have problems learning number facts and procedures and lack an intuitive grasp of numbers. Dyscalculia occurs in people across the whole IQ spectrum and it is not unusual for sufferers to also experience difficulties with time, measurement and spatial reasoning.

People with dyscalculia experience great difficulty with the most basic aspects of numbers and arithmetic.

There is no formal diagnostic test specifically for dyscalculia. However, there is a useful dyscalculia screener for teachers by Professor Brian Butterworth.

Dyscalculia is a special need and requires diagnosis and appropriate counseling as well as support away from whole class teaching. However, compared with dyslexia, very little research has focused on dyscalculia and how to overcome it. Consequently, there is relatively little readymade support available, however Dyslexia School Search is very happy to recommend the work of Jane Emerson and her team at Emerson House.

People with dyscalculia experience great difficulty with the most basic aspects of numbers and arithmetic.

**Signs of possible dyscalculia.**- Problems with reading analog clocks.
- Counting, this action can prove very testing for a child with dyscalculia.
- Difficulties with multiplication, addition, subtraction, division tables.
- Understanding the concept of time, later in life this can be seen in the inability to keep appointments, often arriving either very early or alternatively very late.
- Difficult with left and right.
- Map reading and orientation.
- Estimating distance.
- Understanding the concept of temperature fluctuation.
- Reading music.

**Does dyscalculia also affect people with dyslexia?**- Research has shown that 40-50% of dyslexics do not show dyscalculia tendencies. This group of dyslexics performs at least as well in mathematics as other children, with about 10% achieving at a higher level.
- The remaining 50-60% do experience problems with maths, which is not surprising - difficulty in decoding written words can transfer across into a difficulty in decoding mathematical notation and symbols. Also for a number of dyslexics the difficulty with maths comes from the problems of understanding the language attached to the question, rather than with the concept.

**Testing for dyscalculia:**There is no formal diagnostic test specifically for dyscalculia. However, there is a useful dyscalculia screener for teachers by Professor Brian Butterworth.

**What help is available?**Dyscalculia is a special need and requires diagnosis and appropriate counseling as well as support away from whole class teaching. However, compared with dyslexia, very little research has focused on dyscalculia and how to overcome it. Consequently, there is relatively little readymade support available, however Dyslexia School Search is very happy to recommend the work of Jane Emerson and her team at Emerson House.