The 2018 BDA Committee for Dyscalculia defined dyscalculia as:
- “Dyscalculia is a specific and persistent difficulty in understanding numbers which can lead to a diverse range of difficulties with mathematics. It will be unexpected in relation to age, level of education and experience and occurs across all ages and abilities.
- Mathematics difficulties are best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and they have many causal factors. Dyscalculia falls at one end of the spectrum and will be distinguishable from other maths issues due to the severity of difficulties with number sense, including subitising, symbolic and non-symbolic magnitude comparison, and ordering. It can occur singly but often co-occurs with other specific learning difficulties, mathematics anxiety and medical conditions.”
What is number sense?
Number sense is seen as difficulties in the following 4 areas, as discussed at the BDA virtual maths conference, 2020
subitising: the ability to rapidly and accurately recognise the number of objects in a small group without having to count them;
non-symbolic magnitude: ability to compare objects to recognise differences in size, length, time or quantity etc… to know when amounts are larger or smaller;
symbolic magnitude: ability to compare symbols (numbers/ digits) to recognise differences in quantity and to know which is greater or less;
ordering: how many items (‘cardinality’) and position of an item or number within a series (‘ordinality’).