chapter  4
12 Pages

Impairment in mathematics

Mathematics is essential to much modern technology. Anyone buying a car, paying a house mortgage or dealing with household bills needs mathematics. Yet equally its importance is frequently 'invisible' and poorly understood so that many people remain unaware of the role that it plays in their lives. A key aspect of understanding and skill in mathematics is developing 'number sense'. Problems with this crucial ability are associated with impairment in mathematics. Impairment in mathematics is a difficulty in understanding and learning mathematics that is not associated with general intellectual disability. In the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association) the impairment is a form of specific learning disorder. It implicates number sense, memorisation of arithmetic facts, accurate and fluent calculation, and accurate mathematics reasoning. In England 'dyscalculia' is seen as a 'specific learning difficulty' along with dyslexia and dyspraxia. In neuroimaging studies the parietal cortex of children with developmental dyscalculia show structural and functional abnormalities.