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The multisensory approach  is a unique way of "thinking" about teaching mathematics.

ASDEC Introduces Multisensory Math I for Distance Learners- The first distance class was offered in July 2012.  Participants from around the globe were able to view videos, interact with the instructor, and participate in video conferences.  Check out the latest schedule at the ASDEC website:  www.asdec.org

This approach is:
    research based,
    advocated by the NCTM,
    applicable to any curriculum or textbook series, and
    appropriate for ALL students, but necessary for some.
New workshops and classes address:
    The Common Core State Standards
    Differentiation within the classroom
    Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

This program applies Orton-Gillingham multisensory instructional strategies to mathematics.  This approach fits easily with recommendations from current research and suggestions from the National Math Panel regarding instruction for struggling learners.  Hands-on work with manipulative objects is recommended for all students at all ages.  It enhances both concept integration and memory.  This approach is especially important for LD students and those with conceptual gaps.  It is however, an approach which is appropriate for all students. 

The emphasis of our site is on helping all students be successful in math, helping teachers find ways of supporting struggling students, and informing educators about about learning differences which can impact student performance in mathematics.

In essence, a multisensory approach uses concrete manipulatives to teach mathematical concepts.  We then transition students through the representational (pictorial) level of instruction until they are able to deal only with numerals/numbers at the abstract level.   Manipulatives are used by all students because research has shown that multisensory input is stronger than unisensory input for creating lasting associations and memories.  In more simple terms that means that the more of the brain that is involved in the learning, the stronger the memory. 

It is also true that when students are given explicit instruction in foundational skills and concepts, less time may be needed for procedural instruction, so there is not a substantial increase in instructional time.  Students are able to apply their knowledge across applications and are better at problem solving.  Some studies indicate that students who use manipulatives for concept instruction including at the algebraic level, equal and even surpass their peers in summative assessments and retain the material longer.

If you are interested in more information, a workshop or a course; visit the www.asdec.org website for a complete list of current events.   You may also contact me directly at marilyn@multisensorymath.com. or mzecherCALT@gmail.com.  For workshops or full multisensory math workshops, contact The Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Education Center in Rockville, Maryland.  http://www.asdec.org

Feedback from both teachers and students utilizing this approach is extremely positive.  It must also be noted though that not all manipulatives are appropriate for all topics and that teachers and schools do not need to spend enormous sums of money for commercially produced manipulatives.  There are many simple and inexpensive items which may be successfully used for instruction.   Most of all, multisensory math makes mathematics instruction fun!



  • Ideas and questions?  Contact Marilyn Zecher at: multisensorymath@gmail.com