The Importance of Functional Math Skills For People With Special Needs

The Importance of Functional Math Skills For People With Special Needs

learning functional math

Functional math skills are something that we use every day and are necessary to live independently. These skills help us to manage a budget, schedule appointments, and perform vocational tasks – just to name a few examples. Children with special needs often struggle with these concepts and may need assistance learning functional math skills to lead independent lives as they progress into adulthood. 

The Role of Functional Math Skills In Special Education

Children must first understand the basics to develop the functional math skills they will need to live independently as adults. When it comes to special needs education, it is often helpful for educators and parents to develop an individualized education plan (IEP) to address each student’s strengths and weaknesses. To establish a proper foundation – students must first learn how to read and write numbers, be able to count in increments, and perform basic operations such as addition and subtraction.

Mastering these concepts is critical for children to reach the next stage of functional math skill development, such as telling time, counting money, taking measurements, and following a routine. While this may seem like a lot for a child to learn, breaking it down into smaller, more attainable goals, also known as IEP goals, will help students not to feel overwhelmed. IEP objectives will also help educators and parents better monitor a student's progress and make necessary adjustments to address any concerns.

Incorporating Functional Math Skills In The Classroom

Children with special needs often face additional challenges in an academic environment stemming from certain conditions, such as executive function disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. These conditions often result in difficulty with organization, staying on task, and transitioning to a different activity. Teachers can help students overcome such challenges by incorporating written and visual instructions, a daily classroom schedule, individual student goals, and real-world, hands-on activities into the curriculum.

Did you know?

Helping children to learn and master functional math skills in the classroom is necessary to develop independent living skills as adults. Since many of the challenges children with special needs face are so wide-ranging, an individual approach is critical for ensuring student success. To help students grasp more complex concepts as they progress, playing off of their unique strengths and interests is often helpful in developing more effective individualized lesson plans.

Request a Tour of The Gateway School

Since 1980, RKS Associates has been a leader in providing the needs of special education students and helping children grow to their fullest potential. Each of our schools seeks to empower each student with skills for life, work, and recreation; we believe that every individual possesses the dignity and potential to contribute to a better world.

As part of the RKS Associates Network of schools in New Jersey, the goal at the Gateway School is to assist all students in becoming as independent as possible and help them get ready for the future. Located in Carteret, NJ, we serve individuals throughout Central and Northern New Jersey. Contact us at our main office at 732.541.4400 with any questions or schedule a private tour of the Gateway School today.

Kevin Jones Principal-The Gateway School of Carteret, NJ