Enriching Math Instruction for Neurodiverse Learners, Grades K-12

Teaching mathematics can be challenging, particularly in classrooms where students have diverse prior knowledge, skills, and learning needs. All students must meet rigorous standards and expectations to prepare for success in college and career. Mathematical proficiency is more than simply recalling formulas and computing numbers to find the correct answer to a given problem. Mathematical proficiency requires that students make sense of mathematics, understand mathematical representations in the world, and use mathematics to solve authentic problems. Mathematical proficiency is integral to 21st-century learning because science, technology, and engineering require individuals who can apply, manipulate, and communicate mathematical representations and ideas.

Historically, general and special education teachers, especially at the elementary level, received limited preparation in mathematics education, especially concerning the structure of knowledge in the discipline and sound pedagogy (Newton et al., 2012). This lack of preparation can lead to low self-efficacy for teaching mathematics, especially for teaching neurodiverse. Teachers are less likely to believe that they can use effective mathematics instructional practices when they are not confident teaching mathematics (Gresham, 2018; Smith, 1996), resulting in an overreliance on adopted mathematics texts/programs by schools (Clements & Sarama, 2007). If all learners reach mathematical proficiency, teachers must better understand what constitutes proficiency and how to help students achieve it.

This course will provide evidence-based, culturally responsive strategies to close learning differentials for neurodiverse students and a broader category of students with mathematical difficulties. While students diagnosed with different types of neurodiversity, including math learning disabilities, dyscalculia, ADD/ADHD, and students on the autism spectrum, other students may experience math difficulties caused by insufficient instruction or environmental factors. Many of these students perceive themselves as “just bad at math.” You will learn teaching techniques to boost the self-efficacy and performance of students who experience difficulty learning mathematics.

In 2018-2019, 14% of all public-school students received special education services under IDEA (NCES, 2020). Of these 7.1 million students, 33% were diagnosed with a Specific Learning Disability, making it the largest category of exceptionality in Special Education. Black students, Hispanic Students, and Indigenous students were disproportionately diagnosed with Specific Learning Disabilities compared to White and Asian students. They spent more time in restrictive educational settings, often with reduced access to rigorous curriculum and coursework.

When you provide students with cognitively considerate instruction tailored to their assets and needs, their confidence in mathematics improves. They develop mathematical proficiency and a passion for problem-solving that enables them to access rigorous content, coursework, and higher education and employment opportunities.

Are you a special educator, math interventionist, or general educator committed to helping all students feel like they belong in math class? Then you belong here! Join a cohort of educators today.

This course is divided into the following modules:

  1. Math Proficiency Unmasked
  2. Explicit Instruction and Culturally Responsive Feedback
  3. High-Leverage Instructional Strategies to Build Mathematical Comprehension
  4. Math Reasoning: Connections, Communication, Collaboration, and Confidence
  5. The Role of Assessment





Demonstrating Knowledge of Content & Pedagogy


Designing Coherent Instruction


Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques


Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness