An important proportion of dyslexic students have difficulty-learning maths (T. R. & E. Miles, 1992). Some dyslexic students are held back by surface aspects of numeracy – difficulties in remembering orally encoded maths facts, such as multiplication tables, for example. Others have more severe problems. In students with severe maths learning difficulties: Basic counting development is delayed. Students learn to repeat oral counting sequences later than their peers, and also control the demands of enumerating specific objects later than their peers (Chin & Ashcroft, 1998).

These students also seem to understand the main principle later than other students. On the other hand, however, as their counting skills evolve, dyslexic children with important basic maths difficulties do not seem to develop basic “number sense”. In other words they fail to develop a “feel” for numerosities, and a “feel” for abstract numbers (Henderson & Miles, 2001). In addition, we know that individuals with dyslexia may have difficulties with the language of mathematics and the concepts connected with it. These include spatial and numerical relations such as before, after, between, one more than, and one less than.

Mathematical terms such as numerator and denominator, prime numbers and prime factors, and carrying and borrowing may also be difficult (Miles, Haslum & Wheeler 2001). Children may be bewildered by implicit; multiple senses of words, e. g. , two as the name of a part in a sequence and also as the name of a set of two objects. Difficulties may also happen around the concept of place value and the role of zero. Resolving word problems may be particularly challenging because of problems with decoding, comprehension, sequencing, and understanding mathematical ideas.

In understanding the complex nature of dyslexia, Ansara (1996) made three general assumptions about learning, especially, for individuals with dyslexia. These assumptions affect the way one needs to provide instruction. They are: 1. Learning involves the understanding of patterns, which become bits of knowledge that are then arranged into larger and more significant units. 2. Learning for some dyslexic learners is more difficult than for others because of deficits that intervene with the ready recognition of patterns. 3.

Some students have difficulty with the organization of units into wholes, due to a disability in the handling of spatial and temporary relationships or to sole problems with integration, sequencing or memory. It is important to be aware of the child’s learning style (inchworm or grasshopper). Basically, Inchworms are step-by-step, formula learners whilst grasshoppers are intuitive, big-picture learners. The learner differently makes sense of the world and their experiences (Chin 1998). This can be done sequentially or holistically.

Unfortunately, many numeracy teachers tend to limit themselves to providing sequential experiences and logical explanations. The grater part of dyslexics is seeking a holistic understanding. Without it they can’t understand the purpose of the activities, lose control of the experience and cannot remember the “bits” of information. Some learners are greatly intuitive in the way they learn and do maths. For example, if asked to find three consecutive numbers, which add up to 33 they will divide 33 by 3 and arrive at 11, then quickly conclude the trio with 10 and 12.

Other learners are pattern and step by step in their style. They would approach the 33 question algebraically, probably by inferring the equation x (x + 1) (x + 2) = 33, which resolves to x = 10 (Chin & Ashcroft 1998). Learners require drawing on both these learning styles. An over-dependence on one style is in some way a disadvantage. Dyslexics will often choose the style, which they consider as most reliable, the formulaic style, even though it may not be the best way for them to solve the difficulties.