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01-01-2014 | Original Paper | Uitgave 1/2014

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 1/2014

Virtual and Concrete Manipulatives: A Comparison of Approaches for Solving Mathematics Problems for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders > Uitgave 1/2014
Emily C. Bouck, Rajiv Satsangi, Teresa Taber Doughty, William T. Courtney


Students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are included in general education classes and expected to participate in general education content, such as mathematics. Yet, little research explores academically-based mathematics instruction for this population. This single subject alternating treatment design study explored the effectiveness of concrete (physical objects that can be manipulated) and virtual (3-D objects from the Internet that can be manipulated) manipulatives to teach single- and double-digit subtraction skills. Participants in this study included three elementary-aged students (ages ranging from 6 to 10) diagnosed with ASD. Students were selected from a clinic-based setting, where all participants received medically necessary intensive services provided via one-to-one, trained therapists. Both forms of manipulatives successfully assisted students in accurately and independently solving subtraction problem. However, all three students demonstrated greater accuracy and faster independence with the virtual manipulatives as compared to the concrete manipulatives. Beyond correctly solving the subtraction problems, students were also able to generalize their learning of subtraction through concrete and virtual manipulatives to more real-world applications.

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