Numeracy is a very difficult area for children with DS due to the abstract nature of numbers. It is vital to use visual resources, such as Numicon or Multilink, to attach meaning to numbers.


About Numicon

Numicon is a multi-sensory approach, built on a proven pedagogy that raises achievement across all mathematics ability levels.

  • Numicon’s imagery uses patterns to represent each numeral.
  • The patterns are structured so number relationships can be seen and experienced.
  • Numicon encourages an understanding of numbers and their relationships.

Understanding numbers is reinforced through conversation and use in real-life contexts. This generalises learning and meaning of mathematical concepts. The activities incorporate rich tasks rather than worksheet or text book tasks.

Numbers are abstract ideas- all we can do is show representations of them. Numicon shapes can be seen as ‘pictures of numbers’. The Numicon Approach encourages use of all structured and non-structured concrete materials. Patterns of objects, Numicon Shapes and Cuisenaire Rods are all used to give children a confident sense of ‘number’.

Numicon meets all students learning needs!  Not many programmes can claim that and it means that Numicon supports inclusion across diverse classrooms. With its low threshold – high ceiling activities Numicon works best as a whole school approach.

  • Early Childhood – First Steps with Numicon in the Nursery
  • Special and high learning needs- Breaking Barriers
  • Intervention- Numicon Intervention Programme
  • General classroom- Year 0 – Firm Foundations, Years 1-6

Children with Down’s syndrome can benefit from Numicon’s visual imagery and motivating apparatus, it is the low threshold – high ceiling activities that support inclusive teaching and so Numicon really works best as a whole school approach.

Breaking Barriers is the Numicon Teaching Resource Handbook for teachers of children who experience particular difficulties learning maths. The activities are designed both for children with Special Education Needs and Learning Disabilities and for children who have fallen significantly behind in their mathematics learning.

Numicon helps remove barriers to joining in with Mathematics

  • Difficulties with numerosity
  • Difficulties using words
  • Difficulties with attention control & listening
  • Memory Difficulties
  • Difficulties with sequencing
  • Difficulties with motoric aspects of counting
  • Attitude to doing mathematics

CDSSG support the use and education of Numicon at home, in the Nursery/PreSchool, and at School. Our annual program usually includes a full day Numicon Training Event and a twilight training session, please see our events for details.

For Further support with Numicon go to: