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Abstract or Description

The goal of this study was to observe the differences in math learning and problem solving between typically developing children and children with autism. Strategy selection involves different networks of brain processes including executive functions to identify the problem and task at hand, and determine the most efficient strategy to use. By observing the frequencies of different strategies being used, we are hoping to learn more about the mechanisms used for strategy selection in the autistic group. Additionally, participants were shown number lines and asked to estimate where a particular number fell on the number line. No previous research has investigated the differences between autistic individuals and neurotypical individuals in numerical estimation, and this study aims to see if in fact there are differences. During the sessions, children were presented with simple addition and subtraction problems to complete, as well as the number line tasks. The researcher asked the child how he or she solved the problems. This study will help us learn more about how children with autism differ from typically developing children, so that further studies can be conducted with the aim of improving mathematical curricula. At this point there has been an observable difference noted between the two populations, and as the study continues to include more participants, we are hoping that these results will become statistically significant. As this research continues and expands, we are hoping it will serve as a basis for enhancing mathematical curricula and help individuals with autism better develop proper mathematical strategy utilization.


Advisor: Robert S. Siegler

Department of Psychology