Ten Year Old Just Diagnosed

by R. M.
(South Carolina)

My ten year old son was just diagnosed with ASD. He is verbal and very affectionate. He does well in most of his classes but is struggling with math. Multiplication tables have destroyed him. He now has permission to his the chart, but he has shut down and decided that he just can't do math. The school and I are in the process of developing his IEP, and his teacher is willing to do whatever needs to be done. We just don't know what to do. He is quickly falling behind which just makes it worse for him.

I need help encouraging and motivating him, and I need to know some techniques to help him learn the math.

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Oct 16, 2019
Correction about one of those videos
by: Kay

I just realized that the "hands trick" video works only for the sixes through the tens. But that still takes care of a lot of the harder ones.

Oct 16, 2019
Some things you can try...
by: Kay

Hi R.M.,

It sounds like your son is smart. But memorizing multiplication facts can be really hard for lots of kids. Encourage him that he is not alone, and that this is a big problem for many children.

Regarding motivation, it can be helpful to begin with the easy facts, such as the zeros, ones, tens, and elevens, if you haven’t already tried that. 0 times any number is always zero, 1 times any number is always that number (1 x a = a), and 10 times any number is that number with a zero on the end (10 x 3 = 30). Eleven times any one-digit number is simply that number repeated: 11 x a = aa, or 11 x 4 = 44.

Twos and fives can be easily learned by skip counting by twos and fives.

Once he knows all these, encourage him by telling him that he’s learned 92 facts already! (That includes the reverse of those facts, such as 3 x 0, 3 x 1, 3 x 10, 4 x 0, etc.) That way, you are giving him a lot of success, which is very motivating.

It also helps to start every lesson with the easiest problems or equations--successful experience at the beginning of the lesson can help motivation.

It's very important for him to understand what we’re doing when we multiply numbers by using lots of concrete examples. You can use blocks or even pieces of food to show him what multiplication is. So for 2 x 3 = 6, you could show two groups of three blocks, then count them out to find that there are six in all.

It’s very encouraging to kids when we use lots of praise. Even if he were to get all the answers wrong, try to find something to praise, such as his efforts. Consider also whether using rewards, such as food treats or time with a favorite toy might help to motivate him.

It helps if you can tell him you are proud of him, and that he’s smart…that he can do this. The "tricks" you learn at the links below will prove that he can!

For further help, please check the following links. I think more than one resource is helpful since not all children learn the same way. You may need to try different things to find out what helps and what doesn’t.

The following site has a lot of helpful "tricks" for learning multiplication facts, such as 56 = 7 x 8. The equation when turned around that way gives us the sequence: 5, 6, 7, 8.


This is a teacher who has a "hands" trick that can give you the answer to ANY multiplication fact. This may seem to some like cheating, but it's not. Experts in memorization have been recommending memory aids like this for a long time.


Here are two more videos that show "tricks" for learning multiplication facts.



I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, feel free to comment here or you can send me a message on my contact page.

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