Experts might have the answer to why some us are simply not very good at maths.
A new study has found that children who struggle with mathematics at school could be suffering from an undiagnosed learning disorder.
Dyscalculia is characterised by a difficulty in learning arithmetic skills and the study, carried out by The Queen’s University, has found that one in 20 Northern Ireland children has symptoms.
Funded by Nuffield Foundation, the research also found that in almost all cases, children who have dyscalculia go diagnosed.
Dr Kinga Morsanyi and the team from the School of Psychology studied the mathematics performance of 2,421 primary school children over a number of school years.
The researchers said they expected the number of pupils with dyscalculia to be similar to those with dyslexia, however from the children studied, 108 children had received an official diagnosis of dyslexia, but just one child had officially been diagnosed with dyscalculia.
Based on the results of the study, the researchers found 112 children who are likely to have the condition.
Dr Morsanyi said: “In society, there is sadly a widespread notion that you need a special talent to be good at maths, and that struggling with maths is normal for some people, but this is not the case and it’s not something we would accept if a pupil was unable to read.
“Within the sample of children with dyscalculia, 80% of the children have other developmental conditions, such as dyslexia or speech and language difficulties.
“As the current practice is to assign one diagnostic label to each child, this could partially explain why mathematics difficulties are so often ignored.
“Based on our results, it seems likely that children with persistent, serious difficulties with mathematics, unlike children with dyslexia, do not receive specialist support.”
A child with dyslexia is more than 100 times as likely to receive an official diagnosis and educational support.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the research was funded by Nuffield Health. It was funded by Nuffield Foundation.