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"Math U See" For Students with Autism

By Cheryl Gabbert

Math can be a difficult subject for students suffering from autism spectrum disorders. "Math U See" can be an effective math curriculum for students with autism and can be used effectively in small classes or in a one-on-one classroom support tutorial or in homeschool settings.

Math U See Curriculum in the Classroom

"Math U See" 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 one-on-one tutorial situations. The "Math U See" 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 "in pictures". 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 "Math U See." This curriculum covers the entire math spectrum, from early childhood through precalculus, so students can work at any level.

"Math U See" utilizes direct teaching methods and follows a very logical sequence when introducing math concepts. There is plenty of practice of new skills as well as previously learned ones, and a predictable pattern of introducing, reviewing, and practicing concepts is used. New skills are not introduced until a student demonstrates mastery of current ones, and skills can easily be retaught. This method sets the stage for success.

There have been some amazing success stories resulting from the use of this program with students having special needs. According to "Math U See," 12 school districts in Albuquerque, New Mexico adopted the "Math U See" program for special needs students and the one year results were very positive. Students averaged 27% math scores prior to beginning the program, but after one year, the average was 67%. With results like that, you can't deny that the "Math U See" curriculum is worth a try!


1. Autism Research Institute:

2. Math U See: