If you want to know more about what dyscalculia is, and getting your child tested for dyscalculia that information is here

On this page we look at the simple issue: what can parents do to help a child who has dyscalculia?

Our view is simple.  If you have (or think you have) dyscalculia yourself, then sadly there is probably little that you can do to help your child.  

And you need to remember that dyscalculia is a genetic illness – that means that it is passed from the parents to the child.

But – and this is important – dyscalculia is not passed on automatically.  It can skip generations and it can also just suddenly appear in a child.   So if you have got an average ability in maths (meaning you could pass Grade C GCSE with a suitable bit of revision), then yes, you can help your child providing one other factor is in place.

You need a suitable relationship between yourself and your son/daughter which allows you to work together without conflict.  

If there is stress and tension between you and your child when you sit down and start working together, then helping your child overcome the dyscalculia is probably not going to be a success.  Your child will probably be anxious because of his/her inability to do what most children can do – their maths.  So this is not a situation where any more stress is needed. 

This isn’t a reflection on you – I myself have advised hundreds of parents on the issue of working with their own child – and I always admit, that with one of my three children there was a period of several years in which we simply could not work together.  All I could do was back off and wait.  And I’m an educationalist – so I ought to be able to do it!

So we have two conditions that need to be met before you can help your own child overcome dyscalculia: you need to be reasonably able at maths yourself, and you need to be able to work harmoniously with your child for about ten minutes a day, six days a week.

If that is the case and you think your child might have dyscalculia, you should follow the information for parents on this site starting here.   If you give your child the online test and we find dyscalculia is the most likely explanation for the problems being faced we will not only send you a report, but also a range of materials for you to use.

But if you can’t help your child, what can you do?

Obviously the school may well be able to help, but if you feel that they are very overloaded with other demands, or if you decided to organise the test yourself because the school did not wish to be involved, there are two other routes you could explore.

First, you could bring in a private tutor.   However here I would urge great caution, because there are many private maths tutors who are very good at helping children without dyscalculia gain good grades in maths, but who have no real understanding of dyscalculia.  Their approach is to teach in the standard way but more slowly.

This invariably fails, and can cause more damage to the child  I would advise that you ask the private maths teacher to show you the materials he/she uses and explain how they work for dyscalculic children.  If there is any hint of using standard materials that are used with most children, I would strongly urge that you do not follow this approach.

Second you could ask a friend or neighbour.  It is possible to help a child with dyscalculia by using our materials even if the person is not trained as a teacher.  All you need is for the individual doing the teaching to be able to pass GCSE maths with a C or above, and for that person to be patient even when faced with the way the child seems not to understand things that are perfectly logical.

We suggest in such circumstances you have your child take the on-line test, and then take a look at the materials you get back with the result, and show them to the person you think could help your child.  Let that person study the materials for a few days, and if they feel comfortable you can start the process.

You can also purchase further materials directly.   The link here takes you to pages that list all the resources.  Just click on each one in turn and your will find the details of the item.  If you have any questions please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can order by:

a) sending in a cheque payable to Websites and Blogs Ltd or
b) pay via PayPal This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

Our phone number is 01604 880 927; our email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and our address is 1 Oathill Close, Brixworth, Northampton NN6 9BE

Tony Attwood C.Ed., B.A., M.Phil (Lond), F.Inst.A.M.

This section describes a variety of products and services offered by the Dyscalculia Information Centre for Teachers.

The on-line Dyscalculia Test

You can enter a pupil or student for the on-line Dyscalculia Test by

  • buying on-line from our on-line shop
  • paying by cheque before the test,
  • or by supplying by post or email a school order number.

Our phone number is 01604 880 927; our email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and our address is 1 Oathill Close, Brixworth, Northampton NN6 9BE

In each case you will be sent a link to enable you to access the test on-line.

Please note that with all orders you must provide an email address so that we can direct you to the link that gives access to the test.


Other dyscalculia resources

 

BACKGROUND AND METHODOLOGY

 

BOOKS FOR USE WITH PUPILS AND STUDENTS WHO HAVE DYSCALCULIA

  • Dyscalculia activities 1: addition to division:Schools' Edition - copiable resource of activities to teach the four basic functions to children
  • Dyscalculia activities 2: shapes, fractions, percentages - following on from "Practical Activities" this book assumes that the student has mastered adding, subtraction, multiplication and division.
  • Dyscalculia activities 3: Time and timetables - book of activities for pupils and students who have difficulty telling the time, following the sequence of days, weeks, months, seasons, etc.

 

You can order any of these resources

  • for immediate download from our on-line shop
  • with a school order number by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • by phone to 01604 880 927 again with a school order numberr
  • with a cheque by post to Schools.co.uk, 1 Oathill Close, Brixworth, Northampton, 9BE.  Please make cheques payable to Websites and Blogs Ltd

 

 

 

Understanding Dyscalculia: An Introduction for Schools

Dyscalculia is a specific learning difficulty - an unexpected inability to handle one or more aspects of maths. It has for many years been overshadowed by dyslexia, and yet the inability to handle basic mathematical issues can be just as big a problem for those who suffer from it, as is dyslexia.

Although some children with dyslexia also have great difficulties learning maths, this is not always the case. Research suggests that around 25% of dyslexic children are actually above average in their ability at maths. This suggests that there are different factors at work in dyscalculia from those causing or exacerbating cases of dyslexia.

Understanding Dyscalculia: An Introduction for Schools examines the five main causes of dyscalculia and sets out the methods of working available which can help pupils overcome their dyscalculic problems. The book contains short sections which can be photocopied to give out to other members of staff in school, to worried parents, and to governors, so that everyone can share in the awareness of what dyscalculia is, and how it can be tackled.

Above all the book shows that once we understand and accept the causes of dyscalculia we can adopt appropriate methods of teaching to overcome the problem. Research suggests that most children who gain appropriate help in school can overcome their dyscalculic difficulties and achieve an acceptable grade at GCSE, thus allowing entry into further and higher education.

Order code: T1628 £14.95

Available as a download only.  To see samples pages please click here

 

Methods of Teaching Maths to Pupils with Dyscalculia

Research in recent years has shown that children with dyscalculia can be taught maths if certain specific points in their understanding of maths are addressed. If this approach can be followed by the adoption of particular methods of teaching by the teacher and methods of learning by the pupils, then these children can readily reach the average standard of the class.

What's more the techniques that are known to work well with dyscalculic pupils also work well with pupils who have an average ability at maths.

The book outlines a series of individual methods of teaching maths, which is followed by a series of methods of learning which will benefit all pupils, irrespective of their levels of mathematical achievement. It also contains information on enhancing pupil memory and pupil ability to handle sequences. The methods can be adapted and used with all age groups. The approaches can be used by special needs teachers in small group or individual sessions, and can also be used within full class lessons.

Methods of Teaching Maths to Pupils with Dyscalculia also contains information for parents as well as information on how homework can be structured to the maximum benefit of dyscalculic pupils.

Order code: T1630 £14.95

Available as a download only.   To see sample pages please click here

 

 

 Books for use with pupils and students who have dyscalculia


Dyscalculia activities 1: addition to division: the Schools' Edition

One in 20 children is believed to have such problems in understanding basic maths that the child can reasonably be called “dyscalculic”.

Dyscalculia activities 1: addition to division is the first ever book that can be used by teachers working with individuals or small groups of such children. The book provides a series of activities that will resolve the mathematical “block” that many of these children face, in a series of small group or individual lessons.

By working through these activities children who have fundamental problems in handling the most basic of mathematical concepts will learn how to handle numbers, sequences, addition, multiplication, subtraction and division. The book takes the child from the concept of “higher” and “lower” to division by numbers over 12.

Dyscalculia activities 1: addition to division works from the basis that virtually all children who have particular difficulties with mathematics have these problems because they have failed to grasp one or more of the fundamental principles of maths, and it is this that causes their subsequent problems. The book takes the children through these fundamentals using a newly developed multi-sensory approach alongside conventional notation of maths.

It is not anticipated that most children will need to work through the whole book; rather the volume is constructed so that the teacher can direct the pupil to work on specific topics in order to clarify issues previously misunderstood.

The school will need to provide a series of coloured counters (such as those used with games of Ludo or tiddlywinks) and for some of the later work, a set of cards.

Dyscalculia activities 1: addition to division is photocopiable throughout so that, where it is deemed desirable, sections may be copied and handed over to parents so that they can work with the child at home on simple exercises.

Order code: T1654 £14.95

Available as a download only. To see sample pages please click here

 

Dyscalculia activities 2: shapes, fractions, percentages

Dyscalculic pupils have a significant problem understanding mathematical concepts. These pupils can learn their way around maths if they are taught in a specific multi-sensory manner.

Our volume Dyscalculia activities 2: shapes, fractions, percentages uses this technique to teach such pupils the concepts of number and the four basic functions of mathematics. It is now used with thousands of children across the UK.

Dyscalculia activities 2: shapes, fractions, percentages follows on from “Practical Activities” and uses the same multi-sensory techniques that have proved successful in the earlier book. As before the book comes as a photocopiable volume and requires no additional equipment or materials save for a collection of coloured counters.

One of the huge benefits of this approach is that it not only works with children who have the genetic disorder which gives rise to dyscalculia, it also benefits those children who are failing to grasp mathematical concepts because of interrupted schooling, home problems or even a maths aversion which has developed because of early failure. Experience suggests that a short period of using multi-sensory techniques can be enough to overcome such problems and bring the pupil back to the class average.

Dyscalculia activities 2: shapes, fractions, percentages can be used with secondary school pupils either within special needs lessons or at home with co-operative parents. Each activity within the book can be completed within a maximum of ten minutes, thus allowing the teacher or parent to stop the work the moment the child shows signs of maths-aversion, frustration or tiredness.

Order code: T1719  £14.95

Available as a download only.  To see sample pages please click here

 

Dyscalculia activities 3: Time and timetables

Time is the ultimate sequence, and children who master the concept of time usually overcome all their problems with sequencing and also find many concepts in maths much easier to handle. Indeed it is noticeable that many children who have difficulties with maths also have particular difficulties with the concept of time.

Dyscalculia activities 3: Time and timetables contains exercises and activities that are designed to overcome such problems and ensure that children have a full ability to handle all the concepts of time – from the passing of seasons to the use of the 24 hour clock and the reading of timetables.

The book contains a range of straightforward tests which will reveal where the child’s particular problems lie. This is followed by a series of activities covering all aspects of time. These activities can be undertaken in the classroom and can be photocopied and taken home. Indeed those children who are able to do five minutes homework a day on the subject of time will find that their understanding of time develops extremely quickly.

The book is available in photocopiable format which means that the activities can be shared with other staff in your department.

Order code: T1712 £14.95

Available as a download only.  To see sample pages please click here.

 

Dyscalculia Practice Activities

Some dyscalculic pupils and students find that they have complete blocks when it comes to specific areas of maths – such as odds and evens, fractions, division, time, etc.   For such pupils and students the “Practical Activities” series of books is ideal, each dealing with specific areas of mathematical process in a step by step manner.

However some pupils and students will have picked up some basics of maths and will not need this in-depth re-learning of fundamental mathematical activities.

Instead they will benefit from a multi-sensory set of revision activities across a much wider area.

It is for these pupils and students, and of course their teachers, that Dyscalculia Practice Activities has been developed.

The copiable volume consists of 91 separate activities – each of which is divided into a number of parts.  Each activity deals with a different teaching point ranging from more or less to times tables, from division to the properties of shapes, and finally from fractions to percentages.

The materials are also ideal for allowing teachers and their pupils to go back and revise topics recently learned with a set of quick multi-sensory revision activities, all graded so that the pupil is not asked to solve issues that have not recently been revised.

Throughout, the book is written in a way that will allow the teacher or teaching assistant to work either with a single individual or with a small group of pupils or students whose difficulties fall into the same area.

Order code: T1782 £14.95

Available as a download only. To see sample pages please click here.

 

 

You can order any of these resources

  • At our on-line shop
  • with a school order number by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • by phone to 01604 880 927 again with a school order number
  • with a cheque by post to Schools.co.uk, 1 Oathill Close, Brixworth, Northampton, 9BE.  Please make cheques payable to Websites and Blogs Ltd