Many people may experience difficulty with maths. However, when these difficulties persist despite effective learning and teaching and supportive interventions, there may a specific learning difficulty.

As yet there is no universally agreed terminology to indicate Dyscalculia. However, East Ayrshire has adopted the following definition.

Dyscalculia may affect a pupil’s ability to:

  • acquire arithmetical skills
  • understand simple number concepts
  • gain an intuitive grasp of numbers
  • learn number facts and procedures

Even if they produce a correct answer or use a correct method, they may do so mechanically and without confidence.

(Adapted from Department for Education and Skills, 2001)

Dyscalculia is associated with a difficulty with two numerical concepts:

  • Subitising: the ability to identify how many objects there are without counting them
  • Number sense: the ability to determine whether one group has more objects, or is bigger than the other

Possible indicators of Dyscalculia

  • Poor number sense, for example: 4 bananas being counted as 5
  • Poor understanding or confusion of mathematical symbols such as + - x = 
  • Difficulty with times tables
  • Difficulty understanding place value
  • Difficulty with everyday tasks such as dealing with money and working out change
  • Low self-esteem and anxiety resulting from maths

Identification and support

Identifying and assessing dyscalculia is an ongoing process.

Information is gathered over a period of time through classroom observations, looking at the child’s/young person’s work and class based assessments rather than a single test.

Discussion and working together is a key part of the assessment process and participants may include school ASN co-ordinator, class teacher, parents, East Ayrshire Support Team (EAST) and the education psychologist.

Gathered evidence is discussed and appropriate supports are put in place.

Progress is reviewed regularly.

Contact Information


East Ayrshire Support Team (EAST)
Crosshouse Campus
Playingfield Road
01563 554974