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An Insight Into Numeracy

Updated: Mar 31

Are we aware that numeracy and our spatial sense is co-related? An infant when turns into a toddler and then to a school entry age, he/she should be able to transform its spatial sense/ abilities from three-dimensional to a two-dimensional space. The transformation develops naturally in most young learners, but with an exception to a dyslexic population, whose spatial abilities are highly likely to be compromised in this area.

Today I am sharing insights from the book "Winning With Dyslexia" by Lindsay Peers, into some simple aspects of development, which, when taken into account, can serve students considerably. Personally, these have enlightened my remedial practice for almost three decades.

In the following text, we learn to understand how our abilities of under-developed spatial sense can create directional confusion, manipulation of vocabulary in word problems, inadequate sequencing abilities, and visual perceptual issues can create a whole host of complexities for students.

Language processing vs. conceptualization of abstract mathematical concepts can impede students' performance.

Numeracy mastery of mathematics is developmental and cumulative. It has three necessary components: linguistics, conceptual, and skills.

According to Lindsey Peer, "Numeracy is similar to learning a foreign language for many students- the vocabulary of mathematics being complex and unique. A dyslexic student's native and mathematical language plays an essential role in the conceptualization of mathematical concepts as well as the use of the information.

Also, the variety of vocabulary used to express the concepts is so broad that it becomes complex for students. For example, 'divide' is represented by division, share, quotient, or how much will each cost? How much/many contained within it?"


Similarly, if a learner finds word problems daunting, then we need to investigate whether it genuinely is a conceptualizing of a concept or one of auditory processing, or a language processing?

Take, for example, this question -said quickly, is too much information to be held in a short term memory for effective auditory processing. But if said in pauses, it is broken down and becomes more understandable: "Mandy, Hannah, and Angela, each bought a sweatshirt for $19 each. How much change would they get from $100?"


Consider a directional confusion, when spatial sense gets involved in basic calculations. Such as addition, subtraction, and multiplication are processed right to the left. Whereas a division is processed left to right, and long division involves carrying numbers by using both vertical and horizontal directions for calculations.


Poor sequencing may make counting difficult, particularly backwards. The challenge/difficulty/ confusion of 'left-right' is as relevant to math as it is to literacy. (Miles T&Miles E-1975) For example, when reading numbers 81, be 18? 59 be 26 or can a student see the pattern 9,18,-- 36 or sequence 2,5,3,6,4,- - ?

Therefore, if one doesn't remember numbers, etc., then a lot of confusion can set in, even when a concept is clear.

Place values decimals are also an area of concern when it comes to sequencing, 160.9 just as good as 16.09? or less than (<) and greater than (>)

Lastly, visual perceptual problems can create confusion, 6 with 9, 2 with 5, X with

x with+.


To sum it up, if a child's spatial sense remains under-developed in a three-dimensional space, then it eventually interferes with the conceptualization of abstract Mathematical concepts.

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