Special Needs in Research and Instruction in Whole Number Arithmetic

  • Lieven VerschaffelEmail author
  • Anna Baccaglini-Frank
  • Joanne Mulligan
  • Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen
  • Yan Ping Xin
  • Brian Butterworth
Part of the New ICMI Study Series book series (NISS)


This chapter provides an overview of the ICME 23 Study panel on special needs in research and instruction in whole number arithmetic. It starts with a general introduction by Verschaffel about the state of affairs in and the major issues and challenges for research and educational practice in the field of mathematical learning difficulties (MLD). Afterwards these issues and challenges are explored and discussed from four different angles by four scholars with complementary specializations in the domain of children with MLD and/or other special needs in the curricular domain of whole number arithmetic, namely, Anna Baccaglini-Frank, Joanne Mulligan, Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen and Yan Ping Xin. Finally, Brian Butterworth discusses these four contributions, particularly with respect to the questions ‘what constitutes the “mathematics” that MLD research and practice should address’ and ‘what can be considered as appropriate interventions for children with special needs’

Supplementary material

Video 16.1

(M4V 39399 kb)


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Cited papers from Sun, X., Kaur, B., & Novotna, J. (Eds.). (2015). Conference proceedings of the ICMI study 23: Primary mathematics study on whole numbers. Retrieved February 10, 2016, from

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Katholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Università di PisaPisaItaly
  3. 3.Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  6. 6.University College LondonLondonUK

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