Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Education




Dr. Wayne Martino and Dr. Elizabeth Nowicki


This qualitative study involved interviewing adult participants who were identified, or who self identified as having dyscalculia (also known as a mathematical learning disorder), with the objective of obtaining depth of perspective on how this phenomenon is interpreted, responded to, and managed by these individuals and those around them. This study utilizes a theoretical and methodological framework known as bricolage (Kincheloe, 2005) which involves the synthesis of narrative, auto-ethnographic, critical, feminist, neuroscientific, and psychometric perspectives, to explicate the constitution and experience of dyscalculia. This study also explores epistemological privilege within the discipline of educational psychology, and draws on the work Billington (1996, 2013) who advocates for greater employment of critical approaches within educational psychology; particularly, drawing on the work of Foucault, to explicate how the privileging of certain modes of inquiry contributes to the marginalization of those under study. Findings suggest that cognitive approaches to understanding dyscalculia are neither in agreement, nor above scrutiny, and that social factors, co-morbid conditions and pedagogical approaches to mathematics instruction play a role in the emergence and remediation of dyscalculia. Ultimately, dyscalculia is explicated as a multidimensional phenomenon that raises important questions about how learning differences are approached and understood in educational research and practice.