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How to Teach Math Facts to an Autistic Child

By Leigh Wittman ; Updated June 13, 2017

Autism is a developmental disorder impacting the brain's normal development of social and communication skills. The severity of autism varies greatly from one individual to another. However, many autistic children are able to learn math facts when the teaching methods align with their strengths and interests. As with any other student, successfully learning math facts may be challenging for a child with autism or she may find that she greatly enjoys math and picks up the concepts quickly.

Identify your child's interests. Autistic children tend to have an overwhelming interest in a particular item or subject matter. For example, your child may have a fascination with coins or stamps. Identifying his interests allows you to use them to teach math concepts.

Illustrate the math concept with items that your child finds interesting. Many people with autism are visual learners. If you are teaching addition and your child is interested in coins, use coins to show how addition works. For example, put four coins in front of your child and three coins in front of you. Then, show and explain that if you add your coins to his coins he will have seven coins.

Write down the math facts you are teaching your child. Because many autistic children think in images as opposed to language, they often have a difficult time remembering long lists of information. Writing a list allows your child to refer to it whenever necessary. Write with a black pen on tan, light blue or light green paper. This reduces the contrast and makes it easier for some children with autism to read.

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