What to do if you think your child is dyscalculic

If you are the parent of a child who is, or you believe might be, dyscalculic, this page should help you.

If you are starting this page by thinking that you need your child assessed for dyscalculia please do read through these notes rather than moving straight on to ways of getting your child assessed.

We find that most children do not benefit from being assessed, and since assessment is very expensive it can save you a lot of money if you do not go down this route.  There’s more information in the first section below.

These notes take you through the following steps:

  • Working with your child’s school
  • Working with a private tutor
  • Teaching your child yourself
  • Resources that are available for you, for the tutor and for the school.

Step 1: Working with your child’s school 

All local authority schools have a duty to meet the special needs requirements of the children in their school.  This duty may not apply to private schools and academies – although they may be willing to help.  It is always worth asking.

Certainly if you can get your school’s help, this is normally the most effective route to solving the problem of dyscalculia.

However, although many schools are willing to help, not all schools feel able to do so, and they may argue that your child has no special need.

The only definitive way to resolve this issue is to have your child tested by an educational psychologist (there’s help with this at http://www.dyscalculia.me.uk/testing.html#edu
But before you go down this route, please do note the following:

  • It will cost you several hundred pounds if you refer a child to an educational psychologist yourself.
  • Even with an educational psychologist’s report some schools refuse to act, saying that the report is “just one person’s opinion – our view is different”.
  • Even if the school do accept the report, they might well take a year to set up any sort of provision for your child.
  • If you do challenge the school, you are setting yourself at odds with your child’s school, and that might not be in the long term interest of your child.

So we suggest first of all that you go to the school, suggest that your child might have particular problems with maths because of the inherited genetic issue known as dyscalculia, and ask if they can help.

Try to talk to the Special Needs Co-ordinator (known as a the SENCO in many schools), or the head or deputy head or head of maths – whomever seems the best person to approach.
If the school says, “yes we know about this and we have materials,” then you have your solution.  But if the school says, “we’ve never come across this before”, you might like to refer them to our materials. They are described on www.shop.firstandbest.co.uk – there is a link on the left side called Dyscalculia – schools.

Of course the school may prefer to buy materials elsewhere – that is a matter for them.  Our materials are in use in over 2000 schools in the UK, but each teacher does need to be happy with his or her own choice.

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