ASD Basic Math

ASD Basic Math is a workbook program that teaches the foundations of math to children with autism spectrum disorders. The program provides a rich array of concepts that teaches children to recognize, count, and understand the meaning of numbers up to 10; to calculate the number of objects in a group; to understand that a particular number of objects has a fixed value despite the size or nature of those objects; to understand geometric shapes and be able to sort objects by shape, to follow a sequence of commands involving math concepts. Along with the teaching of core ideas in math, the program enhances the children's conceptual and reasoning abilities.


Unlike other math programs, ASD Basic Math has been uniquely designed so that no spoken language is needed. As a result, it can be used with all children –verbal and non-verbal. Children who are verbal, can use their spoken language abilities if they choose to do so. But, at no point in the program is a child required to speak.


This program may be implemented by a parent, teacher, therapist, or other adult and it may be used alone or in combination with our other programs.


Goals of the Program

The program focuses on teaching children to:

  • recognize, count, and understand the meaning of numbers up to 10
  • calculate the number of objects in a group
  • understand that a particular number of objects has a fixed value despite the size or nature of those objects
  • understand geometric shapes and be able to sort objects by shape
  • follow a sequence of commands involving math concepts
  • comprehend key math concepts such as “same as,” “all”, “another one” and “the right number.”

Another key goal of the program is to teach the children to understand the variety of linguistic forms in which math concepts can appear (e.g., the request to “calculate a number of objects” can appear as

“How many are here?”

“Count these.”

“Give me X (e.g., 4) of these.”

“Write the number that shows how many are here.” etc.)


Individuals who are skilled in language are unfazed by this type of variation. Children on the autism spectrum, however, find the variations in language to be challenging. Frequently in an effort to ease the demands, programs couch the language demands into single, unchanging forms (e.g., all requests for counting are phrased as “Count these.”) While this may enable the children to deal more easily with the specific activities in a program, it leaves them unprepared to deal with the range of math demands that occur in the real world. This pattern is often described by the words, “They fail to generalize.” Given the restricted nature of the teaching, the “failure” is only to be expected.


Fortunately, there is no need to leave the children in this position. If the language demands are carefully structured and paced to include variability (through tiny, but steadily advancing steps), the children gain the ability to deal with the variation. The end result is a comfort with language that significantly enhances their competence in math and lays the foundation for successfully handling more advanced programs.


As a child progresses to higher levels in the program, earlier items from prior levels are maintained. The steady intermixing of what has been learned with new material reinforces the earlier material and empowers the child with a sense of mastery.

Click here to view a PDF sample of the ASD Basic Math workbook.

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