When a dyslexic learner is learning maths, it is often the language of maths – the reading – that is the problem.

  • Dyslexia may lead to difficulties in recognising and sequencing numbers correctly, causing confusion with digits like 6 and 9, or 12 and 21.
  • Dyslexic learners might struggle with understanding mathematical symbols and operations, such as confusing + and x or misinterpreting signs like ≤ or ≥.
  • Dyslexia can make reading and understanding word problems challenging, leading to difficulties in understanding the mathematical concepts embedded in the text.
  • Remembering maths facts, formula, and sequences might be more challenging for those with dyslexia due to difficulties with memory and retrieval.
  • Dyslexic learners may have trouble organising numbers on a page, or aligning digits correctly, or understanding special relationships in geometry.

What can be done to support learners?

  • Use multisensory techniques, such as incorporating visual aids, manipulatives, and verbal explanations.
  • Provide clear, step-by-step instructions.
  • Use charts, diagrams, and graphs to enhance understanding and reduce reliance on text.
  • Improve understanding by colour-coding. Highlight text to distinguish different elements of maths problems.
  • Break down complicated problems into smaller steps and guide the learner through the process, gradually increasing the complexity.
  • Tailor teaching to learning styles and strengths.
  • Create a supportive and patient learning environment to boost confidence and motivation.

It is important to recognise that each individual with dyslexia is unique, and strategies should be tailored to their specific needs and challenges. Early identification and interventions, along with ongoing support, can significantly enhance a dyslexic learner’s ability to grasp mathematical concepts.

To find strategies to help your learners ai recommend reading:

GCSE Maths for Neurodivergent Learners by Judy Hornigold and Rose Jewell