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Dyscalculia is a specific learning difficulty where a person struggles with numbers and their patterns. This difficulty tends to be first noticed in children at primary school age.

We help young people with Dyscalculia achieve the best possible outcomes through a combination of working closely with children from a young age to identify their key abilities, and by providing  a programme of personalised, expert  support.

Signs of Dyscalculia

Whilst there is very little research on Dyscalculia and its symptoms, students with this specific learning difficulties often demonstrate distinctive patterns in behaviour and capability, such as:

  • Counting - sequences of counting words can be learnt, but moving around the sequence will be difficult, either going back or jumping forward in twos or threes
  • Calculations - learning and recalling facts around numbers will be difficult, with a lack of confidence common when providing an answer
  • Numbers featuring a zero - difficulty in seeing the correlation between the words ten, hundred and thousand and also the numbers 10, 100 and 1000
  • Measures - difficulty handling money or telling the time, as well as concepts such as temperature and speed
  • Directions and orientation - left and right can cause difficulties, along with map reading and following directions

How does Dyscalculia affect young people?

We understand that Dyscalculia impacts children beyond just their ability to work with numbers. For example, children with Dyscalculia are likely to be particularly shy in a classroom environment for fear of providing an incorrect answer.

Overcoming barriers to learning

Whilst Dyscalculia is not a condition that can be ‘cured’, our schools have extensive experience in supporting young people to manage this specific learning difficulty. Our highly qualified staff teams have successfully worked with many students to minimise the impact it has on both their academic achievement and personal development.

Priory students with Dyscalculia benefit from a tailored programme which combines:

  • Therapy sessions
    • Developing a student’s self-confidence and self-belief
    • Speech and language therapy for those with speech problems
  • Specialist education strategies to help a student achieve their potential
    • Reducing distractions
    • Working on alternative ways to approach mathematical problems
  • Choice of a range of subjects from a broad curriculum
    • Encourages engagement by offering a range courses in line with their ambitions and aspirations, including vocational courses
  • Independence programmes
    • Focusing on daily living skills which may be particularly affected by Dyscalculia
    • May include money handling, following a recipe or travel training

Strategies for coping with Dyscalculia

Ways to help a young person with Dyscalculia include:

  1. Helping them to understand that they are not ‘stupid’ and that asking for help is the first stepping stone for dealing with Dyscalculia.
  2. Letting young people know that, even though they may struggle with numbers and their patterns, this does not necessarily affect their ability to learn other subjects. We try to boost learners’ self-confidence by explaining they are more likely to be a natural at writing or science.
  3. Explaining to children they may ‘grow out of it’ and that, as they get older, it is likely they will struggle less with numbers, their patterns and how they work together.
  4. Identifying which areas of mathematics the student most struggles with, and encouraging them to spend time checking over their working out.
  5. Encouraging young people to accept help from tutors, friends or relatives and to use a calculator whenever needed. This helps to develop a relationship with numbers and patterns.
  6. Encourage students to be honest with their capabilities and to work with their strengths, so they don’t struggle unnecessarily.