Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dyscalculia: Working with business

Imagine waking in the morning without being able to tell the time, or buying groceries and being unable to check your change. All seemingly simple mathematical tasks for most people, but for up to an estimated six percent of the UK adult population with dyscalculia, this is a daily reality.

Tested only in children until now, an estimated three to six¹ percent of adults could have the ‘hidden disability’ dyscalculia which affects the fundamental ability to acquire arithmetical skills.

Many are still unidentified. Developed by Loughborough University’s Mathematics Education Centre (MEC) in partnership with assistive technology specialist iansyst Ltd (www.iansyst.co.uk) and public sector service provider Tribal, DysCalculiUM is the UK’s first online screener to highlight adults displaying signs of dyscalculia.

Only recognised in recent years, in the same way dyslexia was 30 years ago, dyscalculia has led to many people being labelled (or labelling themselves) as stupid because they cannot do ‘simple sums’.

With statistics showing that people with poor numeracy skills are twice as likely to be unemployed as those who are competent², dyscalculia can impact dramatically on the life chances of those with the condition.

The average person uses maths up to 14 times a day³, resulting in dyscalculics facing many challenges and frustrations with simple tasks such as household budgeting, calculating credit card interest rates or helping their children with homework.

As up to sixty percent of people with dyslexia have difficulties with maths₄, very little research has focused solely on dyscalculia and how to overcome it.

Following the study of a student with fundamental numerical and mathematical difficulties displaying no signs of dyslexia, experts at Loughborough University’s MEC identified the need for an adult dyscalculia screener. DysCalculiUM now marks the first step towards identifying dyscalculia and enabling individuals to seek further help.

More at Loughborough University - Working with business

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