Diving into Dyscalculia

It’s been described as the number one cause of maths weakness that you’ve never heard of.  Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability we know very little about yet it affects around 6 percent of the population.

Children with dyscalculia have a huge struggle acquiring arithmetical skills in spite of a good learning environment at home and at school.

Dyscalculia can be incredibly debilitating.  Children can fall way behind their peers and develop severe anxiety about maths.  As adults they may still struggle to do the most basic arithmetic.  Handling money and time-keeping can be a nightmare.

People with dyscalculia:

  • Lack an “intuitive feel” for numbers and struggle to learn basic number facts and procedures
  • Even if they produce a correct answer or use a correct method, they may do so mechanically and without confidence
  • May struggle with long-term or short-term working memory or with sequencing
  • May also have an associated learning difficulty. We know where one specific learning disability exists, there is often a cluster. For example, a child with dyspraxia and dyslexia may well have difficulty with numerical concepts too.


We now know that the brain can change.  As with dyslexia, early identification and specialised one-on-one intervention can help children acquire the number skills they need to get through life.

To find out how SPELD NZ can help,  call 0800 773 536 or see www.speld.org.nzSPELD NZ is a not-for-profit organisation,  established in the 1970s to support those with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities. It provides diagnostic assessment, individualised one-on-one tuition, information, and training for families and professionals.

In October 2016, experts in the world of dyscalculia are coming together for a SPELD NZ conference in Wellington.   “Deciphering Dyscalculia” aims to help upskill teachers and families who are struggling to deal with this incredibly frustrating but surprisingly common learning disability.  Speakers will include:

  • Judy Hornigold (UK) – internationally renowned education consultant who is passionate about supporting children and adults with dyscalculia. She’s developed many products and support materials for schools and written books on how to support children with dyscalculia and dyslexia;
  • Angelica Bensen (USA) – from Lindamood-Bell, a world leader in research and remediation for specific learning difficulties;
  • Dr Anna Wilson (NZ) – cognitive neuroscientist and researcher specialising in dyscalculia and mathematical cognition.


To find out more about “Deciphering Dyscalculia , see http://www.speld.org.nz/events.aspx

For more on dyscalculia, here are some helpful links: