TouchMath and Students with Learning Disabilities: The Effectiveness of Using TouchMath Addition Techniques with Students with Learning Disabilities

Sharon H. Bergman Concordia University, Portland

This literature review was completed to determine the research that has been done on the usefulness of TouchMath as a strategy for solving addition problems for students who have Individual Education Plans (IEP’s). According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLB), students with special needs often have problems with memory and therefore find it difficult to remember math facts and keep a sequence of steps in order. These students are sometimes referred to as having dyscalculia. They require specialized instruction and alternate or modified content in order to be successful in the general education classroom. Acquisition of math facts needs to be approached in different ways. When basic math facts are not mastered early on, students who have dyscalculia may have difficulty understanding more advanced math applications.

With the introduction of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), it is now more important than ever that students acquire the ability to perform math calculations. “The Common Core defines the knowledge and skills that students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade need to master each year to be prepared for the next grade and ultimately college or work” (inside schools.org, 2014). With that in mind, this research paper seeks to answer the question: Will students with IEP’s who are taught TouchMath addition strategies in the resource room perform better on assessments using TouchMath as opposed to using the traditional addition techniques taught in the general education classroom? The hypothesis is that the students will have higher scores on math assessments when they use the TouchMath technique for solving addition problems.

Based on the success of the research studies that have been previously conducted using TouchMath, it is concluded that this researchers study will have similar positive results. The mere fact that TouchMath is a multi-sensory technique for solving math problems makes it an excellent tool to be used with students with learning disabilities. Often these students need to stimulate their senses and they have a particular sense that is strength for them. TouchMath makes use of the sense of touch and is called a tactile method. By implementing the multi-sensory strategy of TouchMath in the resource room with students who have IEP’s, it is hypothesized that they will perform better on assessments using that tool as opposed to using the traditional addition techniques that are taught in the general education classroom.