Persistent Difficulties with Numeracy

Please have a look at the latest guidance from Highland Council Psychological Service on helping children with specific difficulties in maths (previously known as Dyscalculia):


This is available on the Persistent Difficulties with Maths page, updated from the previous Dyscalculia page.

Strategies for teaching numeracy including pupils with numeracy difficulties

“The purpose of this practice paper is to outline The Highland Council Psychological Service (THCPS) approach to meeting the needs of children and young people learning numeracy, including those with persistent difficulties with numeracy.  The aim is to address an expressed need from schools for more guidance regarding identification and intervention for pupils experiencing persistent difficulties with numeracy.

A Specific Difficulty in Maths (known previously as Dyscalculia)

There are various reasons why a person may experience difficulties with numeracy and perform poorly in mathematical tasks and only a small proportion will be due to a specific learning difficulty in maths, sometimes referred to as dyscalculia, (e.g. Butterworth, 2005; Emerson & Babtie, 2013).

At the time of writing (January 2017), there was no longer any reference to the term ‘dyscalculia’ on the Education Scotland website, or on the Department for Education website (BDA, 2015) which had a widely published definition from 2001, (e.g. Butterworth, 2005; Butterworth & Yeo, 2004; Emerson & Babtie, 2013). In the DSM-V, specific learning difficulties in reading, writing and maths are now grouped under one umbrella term: Specific Learning Disorder (APA, 2013).

As there does not seem to be a satisfactory definition or criteria, this practice paper refers to ‘persistent difficulties with numeracy’ as a descriptive term and follows a needs-led model”

Please post a comment or email if you would like to give any feedback, or would like more information on these guidelines.

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