DURBAN - If you are really bad at maths, struggle to tell the time or to assess how fast something is going or to work out prices in shops - you could have dyscalculia.
Often described as dyslexia’s mathematical cousin, dyscalculia sufferers are rarely diagnosed and according too a BBC report this week, latest research at The Queen’s University has found an estimated one in 20 Northern Ireland primary school pupils had symptoms of dyscalculia.
The study followed the maths performance of 2421 primary school children over a number of school years. While only one of the children had a formal diagnosis of dyscalculia, 112 other children were identified by researchers as likely having the condition.
Dr Kinga Morsanyi from the School of Psychology at Queen's said there were a number of symptoms of dyscalculia.
"For example, children who really struggle with basic arithmetic - addition, subtraction - or young children who continue to use their fingers for counting," she said.
"We found in a related study that these children often have difficulties in other contexts such as remembering how to get to a place, remembering the route and where you turn right or left."
She added that dyslexia is widely recognised and a child with dyslexia is more than 100 times as likely to receive an official diagnosis and educational support. There is little awareness and no standard process in place to help children with dyscalculia.
"If a child cannot read text or cannot interpret what they are reading, the parents would probably be worried," she said.
"If the child struggles with maths, they may say 'I'm not so good, so it's normal for our family'.
"The point is that people ignore maths difficulties and this can have serious consequences later,” said Morsanyi
It has been estimated that up to six per cent of the UK’s population could be affected, but due to the lack of research into the condition, mathematical learning difficulties could be significantly higher, affecting up to 25% of the population.