I am an online Dyscalculia tutor and can help your child wherever you live in the world. Dyscalculia is often called maths Dyslexia or number Dyslexia and it affects around 5% of the population [see references below].
With specialist training in Dyscalculia teaching I am committed to helping those who have it or have Dyscalculia like tendencies. As the first person to start tutoring Dyscalculia online in 2015, I have thousands of hours of experience tutoring online. The video below shows a demo of an online lesson for early maths ideas with a fellow online tutor.
Delivering high quality tutoring for Dyscalculia online is intellectually demanding with requiring the perfect intersection of both the teaching and technical expertise in using remote teaching as a powerful teaching tool in itself. I train up tutees to feel comfortable on camera and use the whiteboard within minutes of our first session.
Online tutoring can work very well for students who have any anxiety around maths. Anxiety is reduced considerably online in a remote teaching set up. With the correct starting point and a well chosen learning trajectory with deliberate, careful and measured teaching choices it is possible to get students ‘unstuck’ at maths.
What is Dyscalculia?
The understanding of Dyscalculia is approximately 30 years behind the understanding of Dyslexia and unfortunately many don’t even realise what the term is.
According to The Dyscalculia Solution by Patricia Babtie (who I received my first training from), Dyscalculia is:
- A deficit in the core capacity to process numbers.
- Inability to compare and enumerate small quantities, leading to difficulty acquiring basic numeracy.
Dyscalculia vs “being bad at maths”
Dyscalculia is about lack of number sense, and understanding the relationships using numbers. It should not be mixed up with being “bad at maths”. Maths covers a wide range of topics but Dyscalculia affects fluency in basic arithmetic skills and number sense. Since most of the other disciplines of maths require some number sense, Dyscalculics struggle with maths in general. See video in the links section below for more information.
The variation between those who have Dyscalculia or Dyscalculia like tendencies is very wide indeed. On one hand I have had students who don’t know instantly what the double of 2 is or 3+2 is, and on the other hand I have had students who thought they had Dyscalculia but really they were fluent with arithmetic and needed help with the other higher level aspects of maths.
Can students learn maths despite Dyscalculia?
Yes. Every single student I have ever tutored, no matter how severe their learning difficulties has made progress in maths.
Naturally what counts as ‘severe’ needs more definition. All my tutees have gone to mainstream school, even if some might have later opted out of it due to various reasons. Tutoring low attaining students is my absolute favourite area of teaching as it is highly intellectually demanding (particularly online) and brings together a whole bunch of my interpersonal skills as a person along with technical teaching skills.
While everyone does make progress, gaining confidence and fluency can not be rushed and it has to take as long as it has to take for the specific student. Often, anxiety around numbers, a negative view of maths in general and previous misconceptions means the process can be slow to start off with. The teaching has to be grounded in excellent pedagogy and real life objects should be used (called manipulatives) along with picture methods. I determine the starting point for each student where they are already comfortable and ensure they get some early success to keep them motivated through the rewarding process.
My Dyscalculia students range from teenagers who are either re-sitting GCSE, doing a Functional Skills qualification or younger students preparing for an 11+ exam for instance. Dyscalculia is an issue that should be addressed at a much younger age due to the cumulative effect on self confidence and maths related anxiety.
My Dyscalculia related training
- Dyscalculia and Mathematical Difficulties workshop by Steve Chinn, Mahesh Sharma and Judi Hornigold for The British Dyslexia Association – London (June 2019)
- Making maths memorable, lessons from Cognitive Science – Teacher training course (2018)
- Multiple representations in mathematics – Teacher training course (2018)
- Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract and Language methods in maths teaching – Teacher training course (2018)
- Singapore Maths and Dyscalculia – The Perfect Match? Workshop by Judi Hornigold, Maths Conference Birmingham (2017)
- Dyscalculia and Numeracy Difficulties – Workshop by Patricia Babtie for The Tutors’ Association (2015)
Useful Links for Parents and Students
- A parent’s guide to Dyscalculia – Video by Ronit Bird
- Being bad at maths vs Dyscalculia – Video by Professor Brian Butterworth
- On the “Labelling” aspect of Dyscalculia – Blog post by Professor Brian Butterworth
- Every single child can pass maths – Blog post by Mark McCourt
- Weaker pupils or the wrong maths? – Blog post by Mark McCourt
- Tutoring children with Dyscalculia online – My post for the Pearson Special Needs Blog