Multisensory Mathematics for Children With Mild Disabilities

Kristen S. Scott Reprinted from Exceptionality, 4(2), 97-111

The researcher examined the effects of using a multisensory program in teaching addition and subtraction skills to students with mild disabilities. Target skills included adding two-digit numbers with regrouping, adding columns of two-digit numbers with regrouping, subtracting single-digit numbers from numbers up to 18, subtracting two-digit numbers with regrouping, and subtracting three-digit numbers with regrouping.

TouchMath was selected for this study because it uses multiple modalities to address learning differences. Also, it does not require students to have math facts memorized, but rather seeks to facilitate the acquisition of these facts.

Results show positive implications for both special education and general education students including:

  • Significant gains in acquisition of the targeted skills
  • Ability to maintain mastery-level performance of all skills
  • Ability to generalize the TouchMath strategies and apply these to novel math problems
  • An interest in using the TouchMath Program, particularly in mainstream classes

Scott's work supports previous research (Sawands, 1982; Thornton et al., 1983; Thornton & Toohey, 1985; Zendel & Pihl, 1982) that validates the positive effects of a multisensory approach, such as TouchMath, with some students with disabilities.