Dyscalculia can affect different aspects of maths ability- leading to a variety of math profiles. Karagiannakis and Cooreman (2014) have identified four areas or subtypes. Dyscalculic learners may have difficulty in all or maybe just one or two to these areas:

  • Core Number
  • Reasoning
  • Memory
  • Visual Spatial

 

1. Core Number

This particular sub type of dyscalculia will lead to difficulties with:

Basic number sense, which is the ability to use and understand number and our number system
Estimating, for example, being able to arrive at a rough idea of what the answer may be
Assessing difference in numerical quantity, for example, understanding that 230 is ten times as much as 23 or that 9 is larger than 7
Understanding and using mathematical symbols
Understanding place value, for example being able to write 102 in response to hearing one hundred and two rather than writing 1002
Placing numbers on a number line, for example , understanding that 5 would be placed in the middle of a number line from 0-10
2. Reasoning:

This particular sub type of dyscalculia will lead to difficulties with:

Understanding mathematical concepts and relationships. For example, understanding that multiplication is repeated addition or that addition and subtraction are inverse operations
Generalising and transferring information. For example, using the fact that 5 + 4 = 9 to work out that 50 + 40 = 90 or that 5 + 5 = 10
Understanding multiple steps in complex procedures/algorithms
Problem solving and decision making. For example, selecting the best method for solving a problem or deciding which operation to use when solving a word problem
3. Memory

This particular sub type of dyscalculia will lead to difficulties with:

Remembering and retrieving numerical facts. For example, recall of number bonds to ten or times tables
Understanding and recalling mathematical terminology. For example, terms like numerator and denominator
Understanding word problems . To make sense of a word problem often requires you to hold information in your short term memory
Performing mental calculations accurately. Mental arithmetic places great demands on the working memory
Remembering and carrying out procedures as well as rules and formulae
Keeping track of the steps in problem solving
4. Visual Spatial

This particular sub type of dyscalculia will lead to difficulties with:

Recognising and understanding symbols. For example confusing x with +
Interpreting visual representations of mathematical objects. For example being able to recognise the net of a square
Placing numbers on a number line. For example, being able to place 75 in roughly the right place on a blank number line from 0-100
Visualising geometric figures, such as 3 D shapes
Interpreting graphs and tables. For example , having difficulty reading information from tables or understanding distance /time graphs
Karagiannakis, G and Cooreman, A. (2014) The Routledge International Handbook of Dyscalculia and Maths Learning Difficulties, Chapter 19