Mathematics

Research on mathematics instruction with students with significant cognitive disabilities: Has anything changed?

In 2008, Browder and colleagues published a meta-analysis on mathematics instruction for learners with significant cognitive disabilities and found that most skills taught to these students were only from two of the five strands recommended by the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (i.e., Number and Operations, and Measurement). A review of the literature since Browder et al. yielded an additional 29 studies. When results from both reviews were compared, a greater percentage of studies taught skills from three strands (i.e., Number and Operations, Geometry, and Algebra), whereas the percentage teaching skills from the Measurement strand decreased and the percentage teaching skills from the Data Analysis and Probability strand was unchanged. In addition, a systematic evaluation of the studies' instructional components found evidence to support the use of systematic instruction, in vivo instruction, a system of least prompts strategy, constant time delay strategy, and task-analytic instruction as evidence-based practices for teaching mathematics to learners with significant cognitive disabilities. Implications for practice include the use of systematic instruction and in vivo procedures, the need for practitioners to have a deep understanding of mathematics, and the importance of relevancy when teaching a variety of mathematics skills.

Hudson, M. E., Rivera, C. J., & Grady, M. M. “Research on mathematics instruction with students with significant cognitive disabilities: Has anything changed? “Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities 43, no. 1 (2018): 38–53.

Call to Action for the Texas Educator

Collaborate with general educators teaching Math to ensure thorough understanding of the math concepts that you will be teaching. Ensure that you are aligned with grade level standards.

Learn more about these strategies by participating in the TX CAN online course Beyond Time & Money: Teaching Mathematics to Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

See also IRIS Center module, High Quality Mathematics Instruction: What Teachers Should Know, or the Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism Training Teaching Math to Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Teaching early numeracy skills using single switch voice-output devices to students with severe multiple disabilities

A multiple probe design across participants was used to evaluate the effects of a systematic instructional package with individualized adaptations (e.g., use of AAC and additional manipulatives) on the acquisition of early numeracy skills for three participants with severe multiple disabilities (i.e., severe physical disabilities, moderate intellectual disability, blindness) and complex communication needs. The intervention included scripted lessons, math story read-alouds, manipulatives, and graphic organizers that were adapted to meet participant needs. Voice-output single switch devices were used by participants to respond during instruction and assessment. Twelve early numeracy skills were embedded into each lesson, and each lesson was taught three or four times before moving to the next. All participants demonstrated low numbers of correct responses during baseline. After the intervention, participant data indicated a therapeutic change in trend and level, demonstrating a functional relationship between the intervention and the number of correct early numeracy responses. Social validity measures were collected from the special education teacher. In addition, study limitations, implications for practice, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Hudson, M.E., Zambone, A., & Brickhouse, J. “Teaching early numeracy skills using single switch voice-output devices to students with severe multiple disabilities.” Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities 28, no. 1 (2016): 153–175.

Call to Action for the Texas Educator

Build in the supports that meet the needs of your student. Take data to evaluate your supports and instruction.