How do we know if a child just doesn’t understand maths, it just isn’t their subject or strength or if it’s a specific difficulty called Dyscalculia?

As a specialist teacher I often get asked to help children with maths.  I also get asked for services to diagnose dyscalculia.  Having received a training day specifically on the subject, I still feel it’s a very difficult thing to isolate and clearly identify Dyscalculia.  Like Dyslexia, there are often co-existing difficulties which make it hard to identify the cause.

The British Dyslexia Association describes Dyscalculia as “A specific learning difficulty with mathematics or more appropriately arithmetic. With 5% of the population believed to experience the condition there isn’t a lot of information out there to inform teachers and parents about how it affects those that have it.  Peter Jarrett is the Chair of the BDA’s Dyscalulia Committee and we are really lucky to be able to have him as one of our key speakers at SEN Jigsaw on June 8th.

Peter, told us about himself.


“Hi, I’m Pete Jarrett and I am a specialist teacher and assessor with an interest in dyscalculia and maths learning difficulties. I am Chair of the British Dyslexia Association Dyscalculia Committee and am on other committees that work on behalf of or professionals and people who find maths learning difficult. I speak at conferences around the country as well as lecturing at Bath Spa University.”

Why do you do what you do?

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I am dyslexic myself and that has meant that there are aspects of life and learning that I can find difficult at times – for one thing, I am really disorganised!

Whilst my dyslexia has not held me back it has meant that I have done things in unorthodox ways at times. I went into teaching later in life, and I was soon struck by how many people struggled with their learning but weren’t really understood. To be brutally honest, I was dismayed that many people who struggled with traditional learning were still being called lazy when it was very apparent to me that they needed a different approach to shine.

I can do maths, and I understand struggle, so I have combined both and now my focus is on helping teachers to understand how and why people can struggle with maths and to give them some ideas on how to help.

Where can we get to hear you speak about Dyscalculia?

On June 8th I will be speaking at the SEN Jigsaw Conference delivering one of the plenary talks entitled “Defining Dyslcalculia: What have we learnt about maths difficulties and maths learning?”.

I will be talking about what dyscalculia is and about the other ways that people can find maths difficult. I will also give some ideas around ways that people who struggle with maths learn and what can be done to help them.

I won’t be asking anyone to do any difficult maths because part of my talk will be about the things that people find uncomfortable in the maths classroom and how they feel about the maths in their everyday life.

That sounds great. What will delegates get from attending your plenary talk?

I hope that everyone will understand dyscalculia a bit better. They will be able to recognise some of the indicators and learn how other conditions such as dyslexia can cause difficulties with maths learning.

People will get some ideas about strategies that can help children to understand maths better.

How can our readers find out more about you?

My business – Tutorum Training  – has a website:

I am on Linkedin:

I am also on Twitter: @idyscalculia and @tutorum

People can also email me at

Along with  Dyscalculia specialist Peter Jarrett, we will also have Ruth Fidler discussing Autism and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) as key speakers.  You can read about our PDA speaker here. 

In the afternoon we will have workshops in Dyslexia, Assistive Software, Language Development, An Autism Friendly Classroom, Dyspraxia and Auditory Processing Difficulties.

There will be a number of SEN exhibitors too.

Parents and education professionals will be assured a very warm welcome. A professional yet relaxed conference. Booking essential by 29th May 2019.

Did you miss our event last year? Here’s a link to SEN Jigsaw 2018