Teaching Your Child Subtraction: A Step
If you need to know a procedure for teaching subtraction facts that is wellsuited for children with autism, then this is the article for you.
Here I will walk you through a stepbystep procedure that will help your child not only learn subtraction facts, but also understand exactly what each equation means.
Math Strategies For Autistic Students
Math is pretty scary on its own, but add a development condition into the mixture, and most parents and teachers would fall into despair thinking they might not be up to this demanding task.
Were here to debunk that widespread notion and give you hope that with the right teaching strategies, your children can learn math just like any other kid. In fact, its not uncommon for autistic children to develop exceptional math skills. Here are five strategies that will help you during this process.
How To Teach Math Facts To An Autistic Child
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No two autistic individuals are the same, and it is difficult to generalize about autistic people. However, autistic individuals tend to do well with numbers. They are generally able to recite and order off numbers, which may be due to an enhanced ability to understand systems. Since every autistic child is unique, you will need to tailor their learning to their individual needs.
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How To Teach Math To An Autistic Child
Because Autism Spectrum Disorder is so diverse, there is no onesizefitsall approach to teaching math to students with autism. Each child, like all students, has his or her own preferred method of learning, as well as unique talents and shortcomings. Getting to know your child on a variety of levels will help you determine which teaching style will be most effective. Many online curricular sites, on the other hand, provide visual representation and grouping, which is similar to the usage of physical manipulatives in the classroom, which is frequently beneficial to children on the spectrum. Because many kids on the spectrum view and understand things in physical terms, displaying an actual representation of the number of items youre adding, removing, or multiplying can be helpful.
Use Examples From Everyday Life
Everywhere you look, everywhereyou go, you can always find something related to math.
Children can start to learn math earlyon if we talk to them about what we see around us. Can you see a triangleon that building? A rectangle? Is there a circle in this room?
If you have five teddy bears andyou share two of them with your brother, how many will you have left?
How manyof each type of coin will I need to buy a candy bar?
Count how many beans are left onyour plate. When you eat two beans, how many are left?
Point out that the refrigeratoris shaped like a rectangle. Show him the ovalshaped dinner table. And the squareshaped end table.
When he builds a block tower,talk about which blocks are triangles, rectangles, squares, or parallelograms.
And every once in a while, youcould pull out the flash cards or worksheet hes been learning from. Help him to connect the symbols on the pageor flash cards with the objects he sees in front of him.
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Start With Concrete Examples
Before attempting to teach your child with autism math facts, its important to begin by showing him what these equations mean.
If you chose to, you could start by simply having him memorize addition facts. But the problem is that many children with autism will see the symbols and not know what the equations mean.
One study among others shows that concrete examples help children with autism understand abstract concepts.
Concrete examples can take many forms, such as blocks, beads, tokens, pieces of food, or even small toys. You can use these materials to count out equations so he can see that two blocks plus three blocks equals five blocks.
We also used an abacus for this purpose. I highly recommend an abacus since it is a tool designed for giving your child a visual example of a math problem.
This article gives you a step by step procedure for modeling an equation using an abacus or other concrete example such as blocks or beads. If you havent seen it or if you need a refresher, you can find it here.
Once I was confident that he understood what the written equations stood for, it was time to help him memorize them.
High School Math And Motivation For Autistic Students
Abstract.
Analyzing data from students in the NCES High School Longitudinal Study dataset, we drew upon expectancyvalue theory to examine the role of student motivation , as mediators between 9th grade math test scores and final math GPA for autistic students. In predicting final high school math GPA, math identity was the strongest predictor for autistic students with above average test scores. Findings for autistic students contrast with results for nonautistic students whose final math GPA is strongly predicted by the direct effects of 9th grade test scores. These results suggest that seeing oneself as a math person may be particularly influential for autistic students with higher 9th grade math performance.
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Superior Math Skills May Accompany Autism Study Suggests
Emily AnthesSpectrum
THIS ARTICLE IS MORE THAN FIVE YEARS OLD
This article is more than five years old. Autism research – and science in general – is constantly evolving, so older articles may contain information or theories that have been reevaluated since their original publication date.
Some children with autism show unique patterns of brain activation while solving math problems, particularly in a brain region normally used for face processing, suggests a study published 15 August in Biological Psychiatry1. They also seem to use more sophisticated mental strategies to solve these problems than do their typically developing peers, the researchers found.
There have been a whole range of anecdotal reports of enhanced math skills in people with autism, says lead investigator Vinod Menon, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University in California. We wanted to take a close look at this in children to see: Are math skills really enhanced in children with autism? And if so, whats the brain organization that might actually support this ability?
Research on the cognitive strengths that children with autism possess has traditionally focused on their visual and spatial skills, rather than their mathematical abilities. A few studies have reported that children and adults with autism may have a special affinity and talent for math2, 3, 4, but these skills have not been rigorously studied or well understood.
Allow For Verbal Processing Or Any Other Special Needs
As not all autistic students learn in the same way, it is important to be in tune with the special needs of the individual student.
Many autistic learners are verbal processors. For example, sitting maths tests in silence means that they are automatically at a huge disadvantage. This is something I have become increasingly aware of over my years of teaching, and this is not something that students grow out of.
One mature student in her thirties told me if she did not have a room of her own when she sat the exams, she simply would not pass. I made sure she did have this, and she talked her way through the whole exam, reading the questions out loud, and talking through her methods as she wrote.
She passed.
However, a considerable number of students are not aware of their own need to process in this way. During a Q& A time in the classroom, it is important to allow students to feel safe to answer questions and for their answers to be seen as part of their processing and not necessarily the final answer.
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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 doesnt need to be a taxing chore. Employing proven and researchbacked 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 childs math learning strengths?
 Can I modify the math curriculum to focus on those strengths?
 How does the math curriculum address my childs areas of weakness?
Answering these questions will give you a huge advantage when looking through math programs for students with autism.
Processing Time Is Crucial
These examples demonstrate abstract concepts which learners have not had enough time to process in their lessons. Students will always resort to the most familiar thing that they are sure of, even when that is not what the question requires.
Even when a child understands in a passive way when the teacher explains a concept, it does not mean they will remember it and be able to apply it later on. The amount of processing needed is likely to be considerably more than what may be assumed by us as teachers.
If we also consider that many people with autism struggle to process information quickly, we start to see where they may struggle in the fastpaced, busy and noisy environment of a classroom.
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Benefits Of Teaching Multiplication To Autistic Students Using Worksheets
Teachers and family members working with children with autism need to be wellprepared to accommodate those sometimes quirky mannerisms of students with autism.
The use of worksheets to teach multiplication tables to autistic children correlates to their strengths. Likewise, they may diminish their weaknesses. For example, as Szymkowiak explains, as autistic students have difficulty with social interaction, it is important to use visual aids like worksheets.
Additionally, worksheets serve as visual prompts enabling students to overcome a frequent inability to respond to verbal instructions. Likewise, as autistic children frequently struggle with organization, it is essential to provide visual organizers like worksheets.
First and foremost, teachers must keep in mind the fact that autistic children are visual learners. For that reason, worksheets are an effective way to teach multiplication tables and other mathematics.
As discussed above, students on the autism spectrum typically find challenges with their communication skill sets. Depending on a childs age and other factors, these communication issues can create behavioral challenges leading to frustrations.
The use of worksheets can both improve an autistic childs communication skills and diminish the impact of their accompanying anxiety.
However, it is important to note that worksheets tend to suit highfunctioning autistic students better than those with an intellectual disability.
Is Dyscalculia Common In Autism
Although not quite as well recognized or understood as dyslexia, dyscalculia presents problems every day. It has a number of symptoms, too.An explanation for Dyscalculia is linked to Aspergers Syndrome as well asAutism.It is due to cleft lip and palate dyscalculia.Learning disabilities can be found at l.disabilities/autism).
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Principle Of Concrete To Abstract
The concretetoabstract principle, as the name implies, entails starting with concrete instances and gradually progressing to more abstract concepts.
You may easily accomplish this by allowing youngsters to see, feel, touch, and even smell many objects in their environment. Teach kids how to play with the objects while applying fundamental math operations like addition once theyre comfortable with them.
You can, for example, play with food toys. Request five food items, three bananas, and two apples from the child. Before attempting to solve addition problems on paper, just introducing numbers while playing with physical items will help the youngster become more comfortable and intuitively grasp some basic addition processes. You may also use transitional items like flashcards and an abacus, which well go over later, to gradually move from real things to pen and paper.
Keep Worksheets Free From Clutter
Kids with autism will often be overwhelmedwhen they see a ton of math problems on a worksheet or page.
Try to keep it to just a fewproblems per page. Experiment to seewhat works for your child.
My son does fine if I limit it to12 equations per page. If I want him todo more than that, I just add a second page.
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Dependent Variable And Measurement
The accuracy of completing numeracy problems out of three problems per skill was the primary dependent variable. Three numeracy skills targeted in the study involved addition of two singledigit numbers within the value of 10, e.g., 2+7, comparing three numbers in the number range of 120 determine the least value, e.g., 2, 8, and 17, and subtraction of two singledigit numbers within the value of 10, e.g., 72. These numeracy skills met the components of the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards for Kindergarten in the areas of Counting and Cardinality and Operations and Algebraic Thinking.
Patterns Of Math And Reading Achievement In Children And Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Study conducted a cluster analysis on math and reading abilities.

Analyses revealed 2 subgroups characterized by differences on IQ and working memory.

Reading fluency distinguished subgroups more powerfully than other variables.

Findings have important implications for inclusion in general education.
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Be Aware Of Sensory Sensitivity
Many children with autism are either overly sensitive to sensory stimuli, such as noise, touch, and smell or dont really notice them. Sensory overload can elicit intense negative or positive reactions, which can result in a sensory meltdown. This may come in the form of:
 running away
 hiding
 shutting down etc.
Since every child with autism is different, there cant be a onesizefitsall approach here and youd have to monitor the individual reactions of the child and get to know their triggers. You may also want to consider obtaining input from their parents. This way, you can adapt the classroom appropriately.
For instance, if the child gets distracted while solving math equations because there is too much noise outside, you could consider getting them noisecanceling headphones.
Sometimes an autistic child will find particular textures or colors unpleasant. Its especially important to monitor this during handson activities in math classes. As an example, if you want to use balls with an unusual fabric to teach counting, check with the child if the fabric is okay with them in advance, and adjust your activity accordingly.
Of course, you can never know all of the meltdown triggers, so its good to also prepare a calm down area. This can be an area where the child can compose themself. For instance, it can be the corner of the classroom where theres a bean bag chair and a few calming items that the student likes.
Choose A Curriculum For Teaching Math To Students With Autism
Selecting an appropriate curriculum for teaching math to students with autism can be taxing. In order to facilitate this task, you may want to consider the questions below before choosing the curriculum:
 What is the preferred learning style of your student? Do they like incorporating technology in their learning or perhaps a naturebased setting is more to their liking?
 What are the strong points of your student in math? What are their weaker points?
How does the math curriculum address these particular math strengths and weaknesses? Remember that each child with autism is unique and youll have to set up an individualized approach that takes their uniqueness into account.
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Interobserver Agreement And Procedural/treatment Fidelity
A second trained observer simultaneously collected data on Camilles percentage of accuracy in solving addition, number comparison, and subtraction problem for 41.6% of baseline, 42% of intervention, and 66.6% of generalization phases for each target skill. The interobserver agreement was calculated using the pointbypoint agreement approach. The IOA was calculated by dividing the number of agreements by the number of agreements plus disagreements and then multiplying by 100% and resulted in 100% IOA per skill for each phase.
Other Worksheets You May Be Interested In
Below are links to a few more worksheets which are closely related to the worksheet above.
On this page, we provided you with a Math Worksheet for Autism It hopefully helped you make your kids learn the basics of maths.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.
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Competency For Teaching Autistic Students
In the paragraph above, we touched on the issue of teachers competency for teaching math to students with autism. Thats because we hope to raise awareness of the current situation and highlight the importance of additional education for teachers or parents who teach math to autistic children.
In 2019, Annales Universitatis Paedagogicae Cracoviensis Studia Mathematica published a systematic review of more than twenty case studies concerning mathematics classroom teaching interventions. Their conclusions brought to attention the need for additional teacher training in special education and more support for kids, as teaching math to students with autism is resourceintensive.
Having these findings in mind, here are some books on autism that will help teachers and parents construct better teaching practices.
Weve also made a list of five strategies for successfully teaching math to students with autism.
Math U See Curriculum In The Classroom
Ã¢Math U SeeÃ¢ is a homeschool math curriculum that can easily be adapted to the special education setting. It can be used in a small resource classroom or in oneonone tutorial situations. The Ã¢Math U SeeÃ¢ difference is that it focuses on visual learning, which is beneficial to students who are very visual. Students with autism spectrum disorders are typically very visual, and think Ã¢in picturesÃ¢. Math for students with autism spectrum disorders should be visual and concrete for these learners.
The base 10 and stacking blocks that come with the math curriculum are great learning tools for students with autism. Vinyl fraction pieces are also a part of the curriculum and they accompany the stacking blocks for teaching fractions. Songbooks and demonstration CDs have been found useful for autistic learners. Some autistic students respond positively to music and the songs are great for supplemental teaching of the concepts. Demonstration DVDs are actually for the teacher, but many students have been reported to benefit from watching them as well.and these are also an integral part of Ã¢Math U See.Ã¢ This curriculum covers the entire math spectrum, from early childhood through precalculus, so students can work at any level.
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