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^6 Key Points ^

  • ? it is essential that a careful analysis of the exact nature of the child’s mathematical problem is undertaken before treatment is planned.
  • ? If you try to teach your child a different method of solving problems to that taught by the teacher, it could confuse him.
  • ? You can always help your child with arithmetical concepts and arithmetical practice in everyday situations.
  • ? Children with specific arithmetic difficulty often experience intense anxiety whenever they are presented with an arithmetic problem, so it is important that arithmetic is taught in an encouraging and positive manner.



Specific difficulties have been described in a number of areas of mathematics, but difficulty in arithmetic has received the most attention. This may be because all children are required to do arithmetical calculations in the early years of school, but can choose alternative subjects later, and it probably also reflects the fact that arithmetical calculations play an important part in everyday life. Another reason may be that arithmetical difficulty following brain damage in adulthood (dyscalculia) is a well-recognized and well-studied entity.

This chapter will focus on specific arithmetic difficulty in children, that is, unexplained, significant delay in arithmetic ability. Although specific arithmetic difficulty was once considered rare, there is now evidence that it is not as uncommon as was previously thought.

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