Number 'dyslexia' fears grow

AT least one child in every class could suffer from a form of numerical dyslexia and need extra support, writes Karen Thornton.

Experts are divided over whether "dyscalculia" is related to dyslexia, or is a separate condition. They distinguish between pupils struggling with the subject but able to grasp basic number concepts and those with fundamental problems with maths.

Professor Brian Butterworth, of University College London, says that brain imaging studies suggest different areas of the brain ar concerned with reading and maths. He estimates that around 6 per cent of the population has difficulty with calculation, but claims the correlation between maths and reading difficulties is low.

However, Dr Steve Chinn, of Mark College, Somerset, used evidence from classroom studies to suggest that most cases of dyscalculia are linked to dyslexia - and that the format of the numeracy strategy (which uses language to pose questions) may be adding to dyslexic children's difficulties with maths.

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