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SASC and the BDA have now agreed a working definition (2019) that is widely used/ largely recognised in the wider dyscalculia community. The definition is as follows:

Dyscalculia is a specific and persistent difficulty in understanding numbers which can lead to a diverse range of difficulties with mathematics. It will be unexpected in relation to age, level of education and experience and occurs across all ages and abilities.

Mathematics difficulties are best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and they have many causal factors. Dyscalculia falls at one end of the spectrum and will be distinguishable from other maths issues due to the severity of difficulties with number sense, including subitising, symbolic and non-symbolic magnitude comparison, and ordering. It can occur singly but often co-occurs with other specific learning difficulties, mathematics anxiety and medical conditions.

Dyscalculia can occur across a range of intellectual abilities.

What do you notice about the child or young person?

You observe the child / young person may have difficulty with; subsisting small quantities; number awareness; estimating; memory; reliable counting; visual and spatial orientation; directional confusion; slow processing; sequencing; noticing patterns; money; and, telling the time.

Dyscalculia Resources

  • Dr. Jo Boaler’s ‘youcubed’ based at Stanford University
  • Ronit Bird: information on numeracy for children who have dyscalculia, dyslexia and other specific difficulties.
  • Dr. Steve Chinn’s website which includes Video tutorials to help with dyscalculia and mathematical learning difficulties and resources.
  •  Prof. Brian Butterworth’s ‘Mathematical Brain’ website Dyscalculia Web Sites , Videos & Professional Resources.
  • Further information can be found at the website for the SASC (the Specific Learning Difficulties) Assessment Committee)
  • The British Dyslexia Association also have a helpful link to information on dyscalculia
  • A blog by Sarah Jones of the West Sussex Learning Behaviour Advisory Team.

Last updated 3 March 2022

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