Students with special needs or high learning needs will benefit from Breaking Barriers

Breaking Barriers Teaching Pack and   


Group Pack or One-to-one pack options

This programme has been designed specifically for

  • students of any age who are experiencing significantly greater difficulty learning mathematics than the majority of students of their age
  • students who are working well below the level expected of their chronological ages

Breaking Barriers can be used in this way:

  • Intervention programme for any age student at Pre-level 1 - Level 1
  • Intervention programme over any period of time for any student struggling with Maths
  • Learning programme for students who have special needs or high learning needs

It is well documented that pupils with High Learning Needs learn most effectively through multi-sensory teaching; Numicon’s emphasis on doing and seeing, alongside speaking and listening, capitalises on pupils’ visual and kinaesthetic strengths throughout the teaching activities.


  • Develop the sound foundation of basic number understanding essential to achieve their individual potential
  • All students to have a positive experience of learning mathematics.

The Breaking Barriers teaching materials offer:

  • practical solutions to students’ difficulties

  • support to teachers in their assessment, planning and teaching

  • small-step teaching follows the typical acquisition of early number skills, addressing the acquisition of numerosity (awareness of the number of objects in a set), counting, the ability to recognise and exploit pattern, and early computation.

  • further ideas for differentiation

  • mathematical language

  • connecting activities and application

  • learning linked to the Assessment tools.

Some students will move quickly through the BB activities which cover all of the strands included in Numicon 1, 2 and 3. Others will move more slowly and take longer because they have greater barriers to learning.

Independent research projects report consistently that the majority of children show a marked rise in confidence with maths when they work with Numicon.

Article from Downs Syndrome Education International on the Challenges of teaching numeracy to children with Down syndrome.

Katrina attributes her success in maths to beginning her learning with Numicon.  Listen to her interview on RadioNZ, Nine to noon programme, 27 March 2014. Copyright limits posting the link here.

See what Hannah has learned

Place value

Doubling using Numicon shapes

Adding two-digit numbers with Numicon shapes

Students with learning difficulties make impressive progress with Numicon. Watch Tyler's progress below.


Numbers are all around us!

Search for more videos families and other educators have loaded on YouTube

Look at products for students with high learning/special needs