Dyscalculia: The Dyslexia of Maths

Learn about ‘the dyslexia of Maths’ – how to identify and cater for students who have dyscalculia.
Target Audience
Primary school teachers - new and experienced Secondary school Maths teachers and SEN teachers
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Learning Areas

Teaching Standards

General Description

Dyscalculia is sometimes referred to as ‘the mathematical equivalent of dyslexia’. It is believed to be as common as dyslexia yet few teachers are aware of its features, its impact or strategies they could use to support students who struggle with maths because they have this specific learning difficulty. This course helps teachers to identify dyscalculic students and to understand the difficulties typically experienced by these students. It provides opportunity to learn about and trial strategies and resources that can be used in supporting dyscalculic students. The course will be of interest to all primary school teachers and to those secondary Maths teachers interested in helping students to address specific deficits that limit their progress.


Primary school teachers – new and experienced
Secondary school Maths teachers and SEN teachers

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

Most TTA online courses are available with an Online Subscription. For a little more than the price of one course, you can gain up to 20 PD hours per year. Learn more HERE.

A normal online course is delivered over 1-12 weeks and is worth from 3-12 PDhrs depending on the course content and its objectives. Participants will not need to take time off, the course date is the START date only, end dates will be advertised with course hours.

The online format of this course provides the participant with the skills and opportunity to:

  • identify strengths and weaknesses of individuals with dyscalculia in their workplace
  • trial/implement some of the strategies and resources that can be used to support individuals with dyscalculia and
  • discuss the outcomes of trials/implementation with fellow participants and the presenters in Forums.

This course is always open and you can join at any time.

Please note that we run this online course on the Open Learning platform, and you should expect an invitation to the course within 2 working days. There are no set times when you must attend any webinars etc, everything you need will be ready to access inside the course. If you have any problems accessing the course please contact admin@tta.edu.au and we will assist you.

This course contributes to 6.0 professional development hours.


  Start Date Location Availability Price    
Enrol Now 01/03/2018 Online Places available $269 + GST Enrol Now


Defining dyscalculia

45 minutes

Participants will be presented with definitions of dyscalculia. They will watch a video about the causes of dyscalculia and read an article about the brain research that is shedding light on its causes. They will be asked to use a list of characteristics to identify a student likely to be dyscalculic.

Assessment tools for identifying dyscalculia

1 hour

Participants will look at a number of tools used for screening for dyscalculia. They will work through a demonstration of Brian Butterworth’s Dyscalculia Screener. They will look at video introductions to several other electronic screeners. They will then look at ways of identifying dyscalculic individuals through interview and short pencil and paper tests.

Number sense and Counting

1 hour

Participants will be provided with general principles for teaching Maths to dyscalculic students then learn about the particular difficulty these students have with developing number sense. They will watch a video on building number sense. They will be provided with activities, strategies and access to resources and asked to trial some of these with students. The resources will include free electronic games and free and low-costs apps.

Calculation and Place Value - using manipulatives

1 hour and 15 minutes

Participants will be introduced to 3 manipulatives-based programs that can support dyscalculic students and provided with videos showing how manipulatives can be effectively used to address their particular deficits and use their strengths. They will be shown activities and strategies for developing understanding and memory of number bonds and strategies for addition and subtraction. They will be introduced to apps that can help students to develop automaticity. They will have the opportunity to look at computer-based programs such as Numbershark and Dynamo Maths through videos. They will be encouraged to trial some of the strategies, activities and programs and share outcomes with fellow participants.

Multiplication and Division - reasoning, the area model and automacity

1 hour and 10 minutes

In this module, participants will be introduced to methods of helping dyscalculic students to learn multiplication facts, including use of reasoning from key facts, the area model and colour and rhythm. They will be provided with videos that demonstrate strategies. They will be shown how to teach multiplication and division side by side. They will be provided with an extensive list of online games for developing automaticity. They will be encouraged to trial at least one strategy and share the outcomes with participants

Understanding Time and solving problems

50 minutes

Participants will be introduced to some novel methods for teaching dyscalculic students how to understand and calculate time. They will be given insight into the difficulty dyscalculic students have with Maths language and models for teaching comprehension and problem-solving. They will be asked to create a resource for supporting language use.

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About the team

Shirley Houston


Shirley has a Masters degree in Special Education and has been teaching in the area of Special Needs for 30 years. She has taught in government and independent schools, primary and secondary, universities and TAFE. Shirley has also taught in several states of Australia and in the U.S. Her particular interests are specific learning difficulties, early childhood, education of young gifted children and literacy. She loves travel, reading and music.

This course is FREE with Online Subscription


If you hold a current TTA Subscription you can enrol into this course for free. To learn more, visit tta.edu.au/go/subscription

Please review the course details to learn how many PD hours this course contributes.