How to teach math to children with autism?

Question by migoy: How to teach math to children with autism?
I know that not all ASD are inclined to math. What I’m asking are the strategies that parents or teachers had used that was proven effective in teaching mathematics to ASDs of different levels and degrees. I’m looking for other methods that are not computer based or needs any medication prior to any lecture. I’m living in the Philippines and we could not afford, not even the government to give those medications. I’ll be testing the methods you are to answer against TouchMath. I would appreciate it if you would as well include the source(s) of your replies.

Best answer:

Answer by Alex
Good teachers helped me to achieve success. I was able to overcome autism because I had good teachers. At age 2 1/2 I was placed in structured nursery school with experienced teachers. From an early age I was taught to have good manners and to behave at the dinner table. Children with autism need to have a structured day, and teachers who know how to be firm but gentle.

1.) Many people with autism are visual thinkers. I think in pictures. I do not think in language. All my thoughts are like videotapes running in my imagination. Pictures are my first language, and words are my second language. Nouns are the easiest words to learn because I could make a picture in my mind of the word. To learn words like “up” or “down,” the teacher would should demonstrate them to the child. For example, take a toy airplane and say “up” as you make the airplane takeoff from a desk.

2.) Avoid long strings of verbal instructions. People with autism have problems remembering the sequence. If the child can read, write the instructions down on a piece of paper. I am unable to remember sequences. If I ask for directions at a gas station, I can only remember three steps. Directions with more than three steps have to be written down. I also have difficulty remembering phone numbers because I cannot make a picture in my mind.

3.) Many children with autism are good at drawing, art, and computer programming. These talent areas should be encouraged. I think there needs to be more emphasis on developing the child’s talents.

4.) Many autistic children get fixated on one subject like trains or maps. The best way to deal with fixations is to use them to motivate school work. If the child likes trains, then use the trains to teach reading and math. Read a book about a train and do math problems with trains. For example, calculate how long it takes a train to go between New York and Washington.

5.) Use concrete visual methods to teach number concepts. My parents gave me a math toy which helped me to learn numbers. It consisted of a set of blocks which had a different length and a different color for the numbers one through ten. With this I learned how to add and subtract. To learn fractions my teachers had a wodden apple that was cut up into four pieces and a wooden pear that was cut in half. From this I learned the concept of quarters and halves.

6.) I had the worst handwriting in class. Many autistic children have problems with motor control in their hands. Neat handwriting is sometimes very hard. This can totally frustrate the child. To reduce frustration and help the child to enjoy, let him type on the computer. Typing is often much easier.

7.) Some autistic children will learn reading more easily with phonics, and others will learn best by memorizing whole words. I learned with phonics. My mother taught me the phonics rules and then had me sound out my words.

8.) When I was a child, loud sounds like the school bell hurt my ears like a dentist drill hitting a nerve. Children with autism need to be protected from sounds that hurt their ears. the sounds that will cause the most problems are school bells, PA systems, buzzers on the score board in the gym, and the sound of chairs scraping the floor. In many cases the child will be able to tolerate the bell or the buzzer if it is muffled slightly by stuffing it with tissues or duct tape. Scraping chairs can be silenced by placing slit tennis balls on the ends of the legs or installing carpet. A child may fear a certain room because he is afraid he may be suddenly subjected to squealing microphone feedback froom the PA system. The fear of the dreaded sound can cause bad behavior.

9.) Some autistic people are bothered by visual distractions and fluorescent lights. They can see the flicker of the 60-cycle electricity. To avoid this problem, place the child’s desk near the window or try to avoid using fluorescent lights. If the lights cannot be avoided, use the newest bulbs you can get. New bulbs flicker less.

10.) Some hyperactive autistic children who fidget all the time will often be calmer if they are given a padded weighted vest to wear. Pressure from the garment helps to calm the nervous system. For best results, the vest should be worn for twenty minutes and then taken of for a few minutes. This prevents the nervous system from adapting to it.

11.) Some individuals with autism will respond better and have improved eye contact and speech if the teacher interacts with them while they are swinging on a swing or rolled up in a mat. Sensory input from swinging or pressure from the mat sometimes helps to improve speech. Swinging should always be done as a fun game. It must NEVER be forced.

12.) Some children and adults can sing better than they speak. They may respond better if words and sentences are sung to them. Some children with extreme sound sensitivity will respond better if the teacher talks to them in a low whisper.

13.) Some nonverbal children and adults cannot process visual and auditory input at the same time. They are mono-channel. They cannot see and hear at the same time. They should be given either a visual task or an auditory task. Their immature nervous system is not able to process simultaneous visual and auditory input.

14.) In older nonverbal children and adults, touch is often their most reliable sense. It is often easier for them to feel. Letters can be taught by letting them feel plastic letters. They can learn daily schedules by feeling objects a few minutes before a scheduled activity. For example, fifteen minutes before lunch give the person a spoon to hold. Let them hold a toy car a few minutes before going in the car.

15.) Some children and adults with autism will learn more easily if the computer keyboard is placed close to the screen. This enables the individual to simultaneously see the keyboard and the sscreen. Some individuals have difficulty remembering if they have to look up after they hit a key on the keyboard.

16.) Nonverbal children and adults will find it easier to associate words with pictures if they see the printed word and a picture on a flashcard. Some individuals do not understand line drawings, so it is recommended to work with real objects and photos first.

17.) Some autistic individuals do not know that speech is used for communication. Language learning can be facilitated if language exercises promote communication. If the child asks for a plate, when he wants a cup, give him a plate. The individual needs to learn that when he says words, concrete things happen. It is easier for an individual with autism to to learn that their words are wrong if the incorrect word resulted in an incorrect object.

18.) Many individuals with autism have difficulty using a computer mouse. Try a roller ball (or tracking ball) pointing device that has a separate button for clicking. Autistics with motor control problems in their hands find it very difficult to hold the mouse still during clicking.

This was written by an Autistic adult with a Ph.D

What do you think? Answer below!

8 Comments

  1. I would say that you do not need to do anything different, just use the same materials you would use to teach notmal kids.

    Just take your time and make sure that kids are involved, make them do te work/learning and you just steer them in the right direction. As i said before it will take longer time, but it is well worth it.

  2. I think it would be better if you’ll enroll you’re child (if its your child your talking abt) to a special school. I have an autistic cousin and he use to study in one of those special schools somewhere in Laguna. And now he’s 12 and studying in an ordinary school.

    he isnt good im math as well but he’s really good in other subjects. One time i tutored him in history for his exam… he got a perfect score ( i dont know if i was just a good tutor, what i did is i repeat it to him and repeat it again and again until he gets a little irritated.. then i’ll stop)… Anyway, i think he’s really intelligent thats why.

    GOODLUCK!

  3. I’m wondering if Alex is actually Temple Grandin. If not, he is quoting some things directly from her book, “Animals in Translation.” Not that it isn’t good advice, but #1 comes practically directly from her book.

  4. Forget standard math as we know it if the child is young. Teach a child to count using visual aides.Just counting to 2 might take weeks.Also use one to one correspondence.Teach the older child money.Knowing how to use money is important. Visual aides are necessary for all learning that a child with autism will do.

  5. There are many different methods of teaching students and, individuals with the Autism spectrum. You may want to surf a web-site that will assist you with many resources and, when surfing go to parents, Autism, on line shopping and at the bottom of the web page go to discovery. Each individual with this spectrum disorder do not learn the same. You are to observe and, find out what they can do and design a program that will enable you to implement an educational program that is suitable for each individual.
    good luck

  6. There are many different ways to teach students with ASD. here are some that have worked in my classroom.

    1. Use concrete objects, such as paperclips, blocks, or nearly any manipulative to teach students math concepts such as counting, adding, and subtracting.

    2. Some students have also found success with the SRA Connecting Math program. It is a scripted series with lessons that follow nearly the same format each time.

    3. This strategy depends on the child. Some students become overwhelmed when given a paper with many problems on it. Highlight every other problem on the page so he/she knows that once those are done the assignment is finished. If the child has issues with skipping problems cut the paper in half, use a new paper to write fewer problems, highlight those on one side of the paper, whatever it takes to help de-stress the child.

    4. Create hands on activities instead of ordinary worksheets. For example, if the child is adding include the answers, in boxes, at the bottom of the page. Have the child cut out the boxes and glue them next to the correct answer.

    5. Go watch a regular ed teacher of the same grade/level teach a math lesson. They often have more training in how to teach academics than we do. Then see how you can adapt that lesson to your students.

    6. Use the child’s interests to stimulate an interest in math. If a child is into Matchbox cars, use the cars as manipulatives to show the child how to add, subtract, mulitply, etc.

    7. Relate the math concept to something else you’re doing. If you have a garden ask students to work with seeds, figure out how much fence you need to enclose your garden, the area, how much water is needed to water it, costs, etc.

    8. Repetition! Students need to practice the new skill, but once they’ve mastered it move on so they don’t get frustrated, then check back every so often to be sure they’ve retained it.

    9. Depending on the skill, Discrete Trial Training may be helpful.

    Each child is different, so what works for one may not work for another. Be patient and creative. Good luck!

  7. I also wondered if Alex is Temple Grandin.I hope so and that she will continue to give insight to questions people have,that no one else could answer quite like she could!

  8. I used Touchmath with my son who is on the spectrum, and it worked quite well for him. He is talented in math, for which he remains in the regular ed classroom. He is a visual and tactile learner, so it was a good match.

Leave a Reply

Page optimized by WP Minify WordPress Plugin