Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education

2020 Edition
| Editors: Stephen Lerman

Down Syndrome, Special Needs, and Mathematics Learning

  • Sophie BrigstockeEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-15789-0_169


Down syndrome is a genetic disorder which has serious consequences for cognitive development. Most children with Down syndrome show mild to moderate cognitive impairments with language skills typically being more severely impaired than nonverbal abilities (Næss et al. 2011). Children with Down syndrome are frequently reported to have problems with short-term and working memory. While a relatively large number of studies have investigated the language and reading skills (Hulme et al. 2011) of children with Down syndrome, much less is known about the development of number skills in this group.

Early case studies and studies using highly selected samples have reported some relatively high levels of arithmetic achievement in individuals with Down syndrome. However, for the majority of individuals with Down syndrome, simple single digit calculations and even counting represent a significant challenge (Gelman and Cohen 1988). Carr (1988) reported that more than half of her...


Genetic disorder Mathematics difficulties Number difficulties Cognitive impairment 
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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK