How does autism's mind work in the face of mathematics?
There are many issues that still need to be known about autism.
There are also many myths that, despite the scientific evidence, persist in our days.
Such is the case of, at times, associating autism with a kind of cool math mind able to visualize the numbers and solve problems that no one else has ever been able to.
Perhaps some books and films, and even documentaries have highlighted some "eye-catching" mathematical ability such as to indicate which day of the week falls when the person was born; Or to know the phone number of a phone book, as presented in the Rain Man movie.
But it is necessary to distinguish the exceptional cases of the generality in the autism.
It is true that there are autistic who can stand out, but there are also non-autistic that stand out, so associating autism with some kind of ease of mathematics does not seem to be a data sustained by the scientific evidence, but how does the mind of autistic In the face of mathematics?
— Mara Domínguez (@psymara) October 17, 2017
This is what has been tried to solve with an investigation from the university Muhammadiyah Gresik and the University Negeri Surabaya (Indonesia) together with the University of Flinders (Australia) whose results have been published in January 2019 in the International Journal of Instruction.
The study presents the results of two small children with autism, the first one under 16 years and an IQ of 115; And the second was 18 years old and an IQ of 95.
In the study we work through observation and interview to know how the cognition of each of the participants functioned in the resolution of mathematical problems.
If during the class hours the student has become accustomed to perform first mathematical tasks, after Castilian language and finally of English, it is very important that always follow this order ❤ ❤ #ConsejoAutismo pic.twitter.com/ikjmQ3gqFm
— Autism Aloud (@AenVozAlta) February 27, 2019
The results show clear differences in the mathematical ability not associated to both the age and the level of intellectual development and the inclusive experiences in the classroom and the therapy they receive.
Thus there were differences in reading and understanding of the instructions of the mathematical problem to be resolved that determined their correct resolution or not.
There were also differences in the visualization of the problem and the approach of the problem to be solved.
Therefore, based on this research, it is not possible to consider that all autistic people have the same experience with mathematics both in terms of their reading and interpretation as in their resolution, having to attend to other factors such as previous experience with That matter or the level of intelligence.