Math Strategies for Special Education Students

Instructor: Lindsey Pierron
Teaching mathematics in the special education classroom takes patience, creativity, and a variety of instructional strategies. Providing resources, using a multi-sensory approach to instruction, and frequent repetition are strategies that can help struggling students be successful in the math classroom.

Math Strategies for Special Education Students

Imagine you're in a special education classroom, teaching a unit on adding with regrouping. As you look at your students' work, you realize they have not lined up their place values appropriately, and as a result, every student has a different answer. None of which is correct. You're a bit frustrated, but realize you need to make a change to your instruction to increase student engagement and understanding. You decide to give each student a piece of graph paper, and watch them line up every number, checking for accuracy, before you let them add. This simple strategy changes everything for your students, and suddenly they're regrouping with ease. You feel a sense of relief and realize that simple instructional strategies can take your students from being totally lost, to having confidence in their math fluency skills.

When teaching math to special education students, there are several factors for an instructor to keep in mind. There are a few common issues special education students face when they are learning mathematical concepts. Some students might have math facts memorized, but struggle when solving real world problems. Other students understand applied problems, but simply cannot memorize their math facts. Still, other students know their math facts and can apply them to real world situations, but have a habit of reversing numbers or forgetting to line up place values. In any case, there are a few strategies and techniques that can help special education students develop math fluency in the general and special education settings, including providing resources, using a multi-sensory approach to instruction, and frequent repetition.

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