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Title: The mathematical development of children with Apert syndrome
Author: Hilton, C.
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Apert syndrome is a rare condition (birth prevalence of 1 in 65000) with associated risks of other physical disabilities. Children with the condition experience major surgery involving the fingers. It has been suggested that these children have greater difficulty with mathematics than with other curriculum subjects. This study explored the mathematical learning of 10 primary school age children with Apert syndrome over two years. The children in the study had varied sensory disabilities, which included hearing and visual impairments, as well as limited finger mobility. The children were visited five or six times at school, in order to detect change over time. The children were observed when they were learning mathematics in school. To explore the children’s understanding and thinking in mathematics, clinical interviews using items from number skills tests were conducted. Standardized measures of working memory and mathematical achievement were administered. Interviews were carried out with the children’s parents and school staff supporting their education. A central finding of this study is that children with Apert syndrome are heterogeneous. The only factor that the children in the study shared was their initial lack of finger use when engaging with work involving number and arithmetic. In line with contemporary neuroscience, this study suggests that finger knowledge and awareness, or finger gnosis, and finger mobility are important in early number development. Exercises in developing of finger gnosis may enable flexibility in strategy use and development for solving problems in arithmetic. However, children with Apert syndrome will continue to be confronted with many other challenges that impact their learning of mathematics.
Supervisor: Cowan, R. ; Rodd, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available