A new study has revealed that dyscalculia could be as prevalent in our children as dyslexia. Sarah Magliocco discusses her experiences with the maths issue.
Growing up throughout my education, mathematics was always a serious struggle.
All through primary school, I would sit in silence staring at whatever sum had been placed in front of me, unable to unravel the complex knot of numbers, taking stab after stab at it with my pencil until the page was a grey wash of eraser markings but my bran could not make the answer reveal itself.
I managed to scrape by, mostly on the sympathy and extra help of my teachers until secondary school, when the word dyscalculia was first mentioned to me, but I wasn't eligible for additional help.
Instead, I was placed in the smallest lower-level maths class where those of us who struggled the most sweated and screamed in frustration over making that algebraic x or y turn into a number (I'm sure the teacher was equally on the brink of break down with us).
There is a distinct hierarchy of subjects in school, with maths being placed right at the top, and anyone who is excellent at maths automatically being presumed to be more intelligent than the rest.
Despite achieving A grades in the areas of Art, English and History, my lack of competence when it came to maths was a perpetual sore spot on my report cards and a topic of conversation at every parent teacher meeting.
Thankfully, a new study has revealed that the Specific Learning Disorder in Mathematics, also known as dyscalculia, is more widespread than we have ever known before.
The School of Psychology at Queen's University studied 2,421 primary school children to see how they got on in the numeric subject. Of the kids involved, just one had been diagnosed previously with dyscalculia.
By the end of the study it was found that 112 children were likely to have the condition, while in the same study 108 had an official diagnoses of dyslexia.
Dr Morsanyi, who conducted the study, said:
'In society, there is sadly a widespread notion that you need a special talent to be good at maths, and that struggling with maths is normal for some people, but this is not the case and it's not something we would accept if a pupil was unable to read.'
The amounts of students with the disorders were almost equal, and yet while extra help and specialised learning strategies are available for those with a reading difficulty, there is not yet such a prevalence of additional assistance for those with a maths issue.