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What is Dyscalculia?

About Dyscalculia and Maths Difficulties

Maths Difficulties are best thought of as a continuum or spectrum.

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.
Dyscalculia is defined as a specific and persistent difficulty in understanding numbers, which can lead to a range of difficulties with mathematics.

It occurs across all age ranges, levels of education and abilities.
It can occur singly but often occurs with other conditions.

 Approximately 6% of the population suffer from Dyscalculia

Facts and Myths about Dyscalculia

What are the indicators of Dyscalculia?

Indicators of Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia Assessment ​

If you recognise a lot of indicators in you or your child then you could move to the next step of contacting an educational psychologist or a Level 7 Dyscalculia Assessor. A dyscalculia assessment in England can be completed by an Educational Psychologist or a Level 7 Dyscalculia specialist assessor (who holds the correct qualification/s)

How can you get an assessment for yourself or your child?

A full dyscalculia diagnostic assessment can be completed for children and adults alike although the tests used vary slightly according to the age of the person. As of February 2024, they can only be conducted face to face (not online).

A full diagnostic assessment conducted by a qualified assessor which identifies this specific learning difficulty (SpLD) is valid for the lifetime of the person being assessed. The report can be used for support in Further and Higher Education environments as well as in the workplace. Should a person wish to attend university however, the assessment will need to be completed by an assessor who has a current Assessment Practising Certificate (APC).

You can check the qualifications of the assessor here. 

What is involved in a level 7 dyscalculia assessment

When you contact an individual assessor, they will explain the assessment process to you and give you information on their procedures and fees. This may vary slightly between assessors, but this is a guideline of the process.

After an initial conversation, a date/s will be set for the assessment and terms and conditions will be agreed. Before the assessment the person being assessed will be asked to complete a questionnaire. This will include questions about developmental history, educational history, current maths knowledge and understanding, maths anxiety, concentration, organisation, and social skills. If the person is under 18 a parent/carer will also be asked to complete a questionnaire. Questionnaires may also be sent, with consent from the person being assessed or their parent, to the school or workplace and any other relevant people e.g. a tutor.

The assessment is a very detailed investigation using psychometric and standardised assessments and usually takes around 3 to 5 (three to five) hours to complete. For younger children, or those who benefit from more breaks, this can be broken down into several shorter sessions on different days.

During the Assessment

During the assessment the assessor will consider underlying ability, working memory, processing, and use both standardised maths and literacy assessments. This will help them to understand what exactly is causing the maths difficulties gives them enough information to potentially establish a diagnosis of dyscalculia or possibly highlight another underlying difficulty. It also allows them to give in-depth and personalised recommendations for the person being assessed, their teachers and/or employer.

The assessment itself has several different parts; many activities won’t even appear to involve maths at all! It’s not a ‘sit down and complete these questions’ thing. A lot of it will be talking and use of maths manipulatives (coins, cubes, pictures), counting, and some basic maths questions. This is not to see how good/bad the person is at maths; it’s to see how their brain works when they are processing mathematical information. Most importantly the tests are designed to give the person confidence (not lose it).

After the Assessment

After the assessment session/s the assessor will analysis the data and write a full report with recommendations (around thirty pages); it is a lengthy process which can take some weeks to complete so please do ask the assessor at the time of booking how long they anticipate this will take.

The cost will depend on the location, qualifications and experience of the assessor and ranges between £450-£900 (four hundred and fifty pounds up to nine hundred pounds). Currently, dyscalculia assessments are not funded on the NHS.

If you have any further questions about the process the assessor will be able to answer them all at your initial chat or do contact us.

Dyscalculia Assessment ​

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