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Strategies used by students with autism when solving multiplicative problems: an exploratory study

Juncal Goñi-Cervera (Juncal Goñi-Cervera, María Cristina Martínez Romillo and Irene Polo-Blanco are all based at Departamento Matemáticas, Estadística y Computación, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain)
María Cristina Martínez Romillo (Juncal Goñi-Cervera, María Cristina Martínez Romillo and Irene Polo-Blanco are all based at Departamento Matemáticas, Estadística y Computación, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain)
Irene Polo-Blanco (Juncal Goñi-Cervera, María Cristina Martínez Romillo and Irene Polo-Blanco are all based at Departamento Matemáticas, Estadística y Computación, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain)

Advances in Autism

ISSN: 2056-3868

Article publication date: 23 August 2022

Issue publication date: 18 January 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to study the strategies used by ten students diagnosed with autism when solving multiplication and division problems because these operations are rarely studied in students with this condition.

Design/methodology/approach

This study conducted an exploratory study with ten students diagnosed with autism to explore and describe the strategies used in solving equal group problems. The authors also describe in detail the case of a student whom the authors deem to be representative because of the reasoning the student employed.

Findings

The informal strategies that they used are described, as well as the difficulties observed in the various problems, depending on the operation required to solve them. The strategies used include direct modeling with counting and others that relied on incorrect additive relationships, with strategies based on multiplication and division operations being scarce. Difficulties were observed in several problems, with measurement division being particularly challenging for the study participants.

Practical implications

The detailed description of the strategies used by the students revealed the meanings that they associate with the operations they are executing and brought to light potential difficulties, which can help teachers plan their instruction.

Originality/value

This research supplements other studies focusing on mathematical problem-solving with autistic students.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by project PID2019-105677RB-I00 funded by MCIN/AEI/ 10.13039/501100011033 and by the Gobierno de Cantabria (Spain): ayudas para contratos predoctorales Concepción Arenal.

Citation

Goñi-Cervera, J., Martínez Romillo, M.C. and Polo-Blanco, I. (2023), "Strategies used by students with autism when solving multiplicative problems: an exploratory study", Advances in Autism, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 65-81. https://doi.org/10.1108/AIA-03-2021-0017

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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