Increasing Efficiency in Mathematics: Teaching Subitizing to Students with Moderate Intellectual Disability

  • Bree JimenezEmail author
  • Alicia Saunders


Subitizing is an early numeracy mathematical skill where students are able to state the quantity of something without counting. This mathematical skill is more efficient than counting with one-to-one correspondence and leads to increased addition speed and accuracy. As more research emerges showing students with moderate and severe intellectual disability can learn mathematical concepts, there is a need for addressing efficiency. A single-case, multiple probe across participants design was used to investigate the effects of simultaneous prompting on subitizing and addition problem solving speed on three students with moderate intellectual disability. Visual analysis of baseline, intervention, and maintenance phase data indicated a functional relationship between simultaneous prompting and subitizing, and statistical analysis (Tau-U) further supported this with a large effect. This also led to increasing the speed with which addition problems were solved. In accordance with previous research on the use of systematic instruction (i.e., simultaneous prompting), students with intellectual disability can benefit from learning mathematical strategies to support their conceptual understanding and mathematical fluency. Future research and implications for practices are discussed.


Moderate intellectual disability Mathematics Severe disabilities Access to the general curriculum Systematic instruction Simultaneous prompting Subitizing 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study. Student assent and parental/guardian consent was obtained for student participants.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.University of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA

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