Teaching Strategies for Students with Autism/Asperger: High School Math

Success stories of ASD:


Temple Grandin: Associate professor and autism advocate at Colorado State University

Daryl Hannah: Actress

Asperger Syndrome:

Dan Aykroyd: Actor/Comedian

Susan Boyle: Winner of Britain's Got Talent and singer

Satoshi Tajiri: Creator of Pokemon

What can I do as a high school teacher to prepare to have a student with autism in my class?

Establishing consistent and written expectations and procedures in the classroom at the beginning of the school year will help the student adjust more adequately and reduce anxiety. It may help to communicate with the student’s parents and other teachers so everyone can be in the same mindset to make the transition for the student be as easy as possible.

Students with ASD tend to focus better and be more engaged when the content can be related to a particular interest the student has, such as bugs, baseball, or video games.

Allow me to introduce Michael Barton, a physics graduate with high-functioning autism.

Touch Math is a program that students with ASD can begin to use as early as elementary school to help with their basic mathematical skills. In a study done by Waters and Boon in 2011, students were taught how to subtract three digit numbers using concepts related to money. Students were taught using regrouping, a common method used in general education classrooms through the use of TouchMath.

General strategies that are recommended for students with ASD that are also used in a general education classroom are peer tutoring, cooperative learning groups, and facilitated questioning. Students can also be engaged by utilizing multimedia instruction or computer-based video instruction. Students with ASD have heightened senses, but often are visual and kinesthetic learners.  Students may also use a graphic organizer to help with a visualization of the concept by drawing a picture, using a flowchart, or a KWL to demonstrate their understanding.

Let students build things!  For those students who are high-functioning, it is also imperative to incorporate as many hands-on projects as possible as many students with ASD may enter a trade career upon completing high school.


What is autism? (2014, April 2). Retrieved April 12, 2015, from https://youtu.be/d4G0HTIUBlI

Boy with autism does Touch Math (2012, October 10). Retrieved April 23, 2015 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r75KIj35WZ4&featur...

Temple Grandin. Retrieved May 4, 2015, from http://www.capebretonpost.com/media/photos/unis/20...

Susan Boyle. Retrieved April 23, 2015 from http://i.ndtvimg.com/mt/movies/2012-11/susan-boyle...

Dan Aykroyd. Retrieved May 4, 2015 from http://cdn.wegotthiscovered.com/wp-content/uploads...

Daryl Hannah. Retrieved April 23, 2015 from http://kenburridge.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/...

Satoshi Tajiri. Retrieved May 4, 2015 from http://kisah-motivasi.com/files/large/1370

Michael Barton: Special interests - positive aspects of autism (2015, March 5). Retrieved April 29, 2015 from https://youtu.be/uZPjGt8A2ko

Algeblocks. Retrieved April 12, 2015 from http://detroitk12.org/admin/academic_affairs/dusp/...

Peer Tutoring. Retrieved April 12, 2015 from http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site21...

Cooperative Learning Groups. Retrieved April 12, 2015 from http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EVsxe01g6kk/UnFfp8J76kI/...

Autism Speaks. Retrieved May 2, 2015, from https://www.autismspeaks.org

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Fleury, V. P., Hedges, S., Hume, K., Browder, D. M., Thompson, J. L., Fallin, K., & ... Vaughn, S. (2014). Addressing the Academic Needs of Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder in Secondary Education. Remedial & Special Education, 35(2), 68-79. doi:10.1177/0741932513518823

Grandin, T. (2006). Perspectives on Education from a Person on the Autism Spectrum. Educational Horizons, 84(4), 229-234.

Moores-Abdool, W. (2010). Included Students with Autism and Access to General Curriculum: What Is Being Provided?. Issues In Teacher Education, 19(2), 153-169.

Spencer, V. G., Evmenova, A. S., Boon, R. T., & Hayes-Harris, L. (2014). Review of Research-Based Interventions for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Content Area Instruction: Implications and Considerations for Classroom Practice. Education & Training In Autism & Developmental Disabilities, 49(3), 331-353.