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How Technology Can Support Dyscalculic Learners

Developmental Dyscalculia (DD) is a specific learning disorder that is characterised by impairments in learning basic arithmetic fact, processing numerical magnitude and performing accurate calculations. Key problem areas include: counting backwards; estimation; mental arithmetic skills and recalling numerical facts.

This seminar (and optional hands on afternoon session) will focus on how assistive technology and inclusive classroom practice can support students who have dyscalculia. The content will be applicable to those working with dyscalculic learners in both primary and secondary sectors.



22nd March 2018
University of Edinburgh

Full day course
(9:30pm - 3:30pm)

What you will learn

    • Identifying the difficulties that learners with dyscalculia may experience when developing numeracy skills
    • The relationship between dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia
      and the role technology has in supporting co-morbidity
    • How assistive technology can support a dyscalculic student
      and help to understand numerical concepts, with organisation and to alleviate problems with memorising facts.
    • How to boost the morale and confidence of the dyscalculic student
      through creative use of inclusive digital technologies
    • Where to find and use online resources and educational numeracy games
      for consolidation of concepts
    • The key apps to support learners with dyscalculia
    • Assessment and intervention
      including mathematical recovery programmes

    Who is the seminar aimed at?

    • Class teachers, Support for Learning Teachers
    • Classroom assistants, Additional Support Needs assistants
    • Anyone working with a student who has mathematical difficulties
    • Parents / Carers

    Meet your presenter(s)

    Shirley Lawson
    Assistive Technology and ASN Officer

    I bring my teaching experience into my role at CALL as Development Officer for Assistive Technologies and Additional Support Needs. I lead the CALL Scotland Professional Learning and am focussing on providing a programme of relevant, quality assistive technology training to those working with children and young people with additional support needs and / or disabilities.

    Allan Wilson
    Information Coordinator

    Has been Information Officer with CALL since 1993, having previously worked in computer training for young learners with support needs. His areas of particular interest include speech recognition and the use of technology to support learners with reading and writing difficulties.

    What the research says

    Research has been conducted on dyscalculia from a neuroscience perspective, providing evidence for a core deficit in processing numerosities (Butterworth et al., 2011). However, another way to think about dyscalculia is that it could be symptomatic of the type of maths teaching used in schools, as Butterworth et al. suggest:

    one way of thinking about dyscalculia is that the typical school environment does not provide the right kind of experiences to enable the dyscalculic brain to develop normally to learn arithmetic
    (Butterworth et al., 2011)

    The suggestion that arises from this view is that if technology is to be used alongside regular teaching for the support of dyscalculia, then remediation through educational software (i.e. computer-aided instruction) should be considered more than compensation (for example through use of calculators) at least in early education, and particularly that education should focus on manipulation activities, providing informational feedback and intrinsic motivation, with adaptive software possibly providing the means to do this (Butterworth et al., 2011).

    Butterworth, B., Varma, S. and Laurillard, D. (2011) Dyscalculia: from brain to education. Science, 332 (6033), 1049-1053.


    About the day

    • Duration: 9:30pm - 3:30pm
    • Class size: No more than 16
    • Refreshments: Tea, coffee and water will be available throughout.
    • Food: A generous lunch to keep you full up.


    • Room: , University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ