Teaching Math to Students with Autism
If you’re getting ready to teach math to a student with autism, you’ll soon discover that there will be a lot of exciting, a-ha moments, as well as a few challenges along the way. However, employing specific strategies and getting to know your child on an academic level can help make the experience enjoyable for both of you and help you overcome any obstacles like a pro.
This page provides useful information that can benefit anyone who is teaching math to a child with autism. You’ll discover why some students with autism excel in math, what to look for in a math curriculum, and how Time4Learning can help your student with autism succeed.
Autism and Math
Evidence in the last few years has suggested that children with autism may have certain cognitive strengths in mathematics. A study published in Biological Psychiatry in 2013 seems to coincide with that theory.
Researchers found that certain parts of the brain in children with autism are activated when solving math problems, and that they tend to use different approaches when solving these problems when compared to students without autism. In the study, the children with autism used decomposition when solving addition problems twice as much as the typically developing students in the study. This strategy involves breaking down each problem into smaller problems to find the answer.
How to Teach Math to a Child With Autism
Since Autism Spectrum Disorder is so wide-ranging, there really isn’t one particular method to teach math to students with autism. As with students in general, each child has his or her own preferred way of learning, with their own individual strengths and weaknesses. Getting to know your child on various levels will give you better insight as to what teaching method will work best.
Time4Learning’s online curriculum provides visual representation and grouping, which is similar to the use of physical manipulatives in the classroom which are often beneficially used by children on the spectrum. As many students on the spectrum see and understand things physically and literally, it helps to display an actual representation of the number of items you are adding, subtracting or multiplying. As students transition into the older grade levels which introduce word problems, Time4Learning also provides families with additional free tools.
Teaching math to students with autism can be aided by following these strategies:
- Identify your child’s interest and use it to teach math concepts.
- Capitalize on their visual-spatial learning style by using multimedia teaching tools.
- List out math facts so your child can easily refer to it whenever they need.
- Teach math concepts through visual examples and pair them with verbal instructions for those that are partially verbal or non-verbal.
- Make teaching math fun by playing games with flash cards, apps, or an online curriculum.
- Use technology to help those students whose fine motor skills aren’t as developed.
- Provide praise as often as possible to keep students motivated.
- Use multiple-choice format rather than yes or no questions.
Math Curriculum for Students With Autism
When teaching math to students with autism, math curriculum choice is critical. Finding a math curriculum for students on the spectrum doesn’t need to be a taxing chore. Employing proven and research-backed strategies can help make the teaching and learning process for both parties less stressful and a lot more enjoyable.
When trying to find the ideal math curriculum for students on the spectrum ask yourself:
- What are my child’s math learning strengths?
- Can I modify the math curriculum to focus on those strengths?
- How does the math curriculum address my child’s areas of weakness?
Answering these questions will give you a huge advantage when looking through math programs for students with autism.
How Time4Learning Curriculum Helps Students with Autism
Time4Learning is an award-winning, online curriculum that has received the distinction of being a Certified Autism Resource by IBCCES. Our interactive curriculum teaches students through engaging lessons using a student-paced approach, which includes access to multiple grade levels at a time. This ensures a strong foundation and closes gaps that may have been missed in previous grade levels.
The fun, interactive nature of Time4Learning appeals to students with autism since it offers a visually appealing presentation that captures their attention and motivates them to learn. Lessons and activities are brief, usually no longer than several minutes, and parents have the option to have their children redo activities, skip specific lessons, and more. Just as well, parents having access to the answer keys for tests and quizzes in Time4Learning assists them in aiding their intuitive math students, without having to review the lessons themselves.
Time4Learning’s math curriculum offers activities that benefit students on the spectrum with these key features:
- Student-paced, online learning program delivers customized instruction.
- Focuses on fundamental math concepts to help develop strong math skills.
- Brief lessons, activities and practice opportunities focus on core content to ensure mastery and retention.
- Designed to allow students to progress at their own pace with the option to redo activities and retake tests.
- Automated record keeping allows parents to track student progress and quickly identify problem areas.