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Dyscalculia – A parent’s perspective 1

Summary

This is a series of parents talking about their own experiences of dyscalculia.

Our Son and Dyscalculia

Our son (currently aged 10) has always struggled with Maths and we felt there was a barrier present that had nothing to do with his Autism or ADHD.  From an early age he found it difficult to count to 100 and he would often get his numbers muddled.  His first primary school refused to listen to our concerns and continued to teach him via a method that was clearly not suited to him.

As a result, he missed out on a lot of basic number bond work and subsequently did not have a foundation to build on as the Maths moved on to being more abstract. This presented challenges as he completely disengaged from the subject. Given his enquiring mind and his deep interest in Science, this was very frustrating for us to witness.

Educational Psychologist

An initial EP assessment indicated that he needed to be taught Maths in a hands-on way that used manipulatives. This information was passed on to his new primary school (we moved him out of his first school because they were failing him on every level of his education) and the teachers attempted to use some of the methods suggested by the EP.  However, much of the Maths teaching was still delivered in a manner that was inaccessible to our son. He was not able to make the accelerated progress in Maths to meet age-related (or near) expectations, despite making exceptional progress in his Literacy. A second EP assessment confirmed a diagnosis of Dyslexia but not of Dyscalculia, which was especially puzzling given his continued struggles with Maths.

Tutoring

Following this EP assessment, we decided to find a Dyscalculia-trained Maths tutor to give him some specialist tuition. From the onset, Cat completely understood our son’s needs and she began to teach him in a way that he not only understood, but enjoyed. She created a bespoke programme of learning that comprised games and fun hands-on methods, often tailored to his interests. The essential building blocks of Maths were revisited and properly understood, and from thereon he was able to make rapid progress and show some real potential. Cat’s approach nurtured an ability we did not know he had and, just after just one year of being tutored by her, his Maths ability has gone from strength to strength. He now enjoys Maths and his confidence in the subject has significantly increased.

Success

Having a tutor that is knowledgeable and passionate about SEN, and who is willing to go the extra mile in engaging her students, can make such an important difference to a young person’s life. Our son’s positive experience with Cat has had a wider impact on his overall attitude to learning. He is willing to persevere, even if he finds something difficult, and he wants to succeed.

Our son now attends a specialist school for boys who have high functioning Autism and he is gaining 100% in his Maths tests, something we never thought we would see! Without the expertise of a Dyscalculia specialist this would never have been possible.



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