Dyscalculia resources

Dyscalculia resources

Last updated 23 September 2022
Last updated 23 September 2022

Information, resources and tools to help you meet the needs of learners with dyscalculia/neurodiversity. Best practice for these learners is best practice for all learners.

Becoming neurodiversity-capable will support your learner success approach

Fundamental to the Tertiary Education Commission’s (TEC's) Ōritetanga learner success approach is understanding all learners and their needs and aspirations.

These resources can be used alongside the Kia Ōrite Toolkit, and are a vital resource for tertiary education organisations (TEOs) developing a Disability Action Plan. Together these will help TEOs to redesign their businesses with learners at the centre.

Ōritetanga – tertiary success for everyone

Kia Ōrite Toolkit

Disability Action Plans

What is dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia is commonly understood as ‘dyslexia with numbers’. However, that description is just a starting point, as dyscalculia can mean a range of symptoms and impacts on daily life. The following two descriptions provide more context.

Dyscalculia is a condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills. Dyscalculic learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers, and have problems learning number facts.

– Brian Butterworth, Dyscalculia: from science to education

Dyscalculics have difficulty with numbers and remembering mathematical facts as well as performing mathematical operations. Dyscalculics may have difficulties with abstract concepts of time and direction, recalling schedules and consequences of events as well as difficulties with mathematical concepts, rules, formulas and basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts.

– DfES Consultation UK

Resources and tools to help meet the needs of learners with dyscalculia/neurodiversity

The TEC is committed to actively supporting TEOs to deliver quality education and training to learners with dyscalculia and other neurodivergent conditions.

We have pulled together resources from New Zealand, Australia and the rest of the world to assist you to provide inclusive education to those learners.

Please note: We have gathered these resources from a wide range of sources. Neurodiversity/dyscalculia is an evolving field. We have made every effort to ensure that all sources are reputable. However, their inclusion does not indicate endorsement by the TEC.

More information and resources will be added over time.

Overview books on dyscalculia

The dyscalculia assessment by Jane Emerson and Patricia Babtie (2010)

Dyslexia, dyscalculia and mathematics: a practical guide by Anne Henderson (2012)

Dyscalculia: from science to education by Brian Butterworth (2018)

Dyscalculia guidance: helping pupils with specific learning difficulties in maths by Brian Butterworth and Dorian Yeo (2004)

The dyscalculia resource book: games and puzzles for ages 7 to 14 by Ronit Bird (2011)

The dyscalculia solution: teaching number sense by Jane Emerson and Patricia Babtie (2014)

It just doesn't add up: explaining dyscalculia and overcoming number problems for children and adults by Paul Moorcraft (2014)

More trouble with maths: a complete guide to identifying and diagnosing mathematical difficulties by Steve Chinn (2012)

My thirteenth winter: a memoir by Samantha Abeel (2003)

Overcoming difficulties with number: supporting dyscalculia and students who struggle with maths by Ronit Bird (2009)

The trouble with maths: a practical guide to helping learners with numeracy difficulties by Steve Chinn (2004)

New Zealand organisations

While New Zealand does not have a dedicated dyscalculia organisation, you can find help from some of the learning support organisations such as SPELD.

TEC may be able to assist with general enquiries. Please email us, or phone 0800 601 301.

Screening and assessment

It can be difficult to distinguish between dyscalculia and maths anxiety. Often it is not clear until the learner is assessed or screened in some way. A learner with high levels of maths anxiety will generally respond well to supports. For a dyscalculic learner the same support will mean little to no improvement.

In New Zealand, the Butterworth screener is considered the most reliable screener available. It is particularly suitable for tertiary learners.

Screening should be done under the supervision and guidance of a learning support professional.

An updated screener is being developed, to be used from age seven up. The screener is currently being trialled in both Ireland and New Zealand, and will be accompanied by suggested resources based on individual results. It is scheduled to be available during 2022. For more information, contact Gray Sharpe at the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT).

Assistive technologies

Assistive Technology – provider of a range of assistive technology products

TEC may be able to assist with links to support resources. Please email us, or phone 0800 601 301.

New Zealand case studies

The woman who can't read numbers – how her Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki tutor discovered dyscalculiaNZ Herald article about Taranaki woman Hannah Hughson, who has dyscalculia, and her work with maths support tutor Gary Sharpe

Hannah Hughson video – video of Hannah Hughson and Gary Sharpe answering the NZ Herald reporter’s questions.

Resources from overseas

My world without numbers – TEDx talk by Line Rothmann

'Math Dyslexia' Story (Dyscalculia) – personal story and helpful information about dyscalculia

Living with Dyscalculia (It's Not Just 'Number Dyslexia') – personal story of living with dyscalculia