Skip to main content

A Developmental Study of Mathematics in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or Typical Development


This study examined mathematics achievement in school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or typical development (TD) over a 30-month period and the associations between cognitive and reading abilities with mathematics achievement in children with ASD. Seventy-seven children with ASD without intellectual disability (ASD-WoID), 39 children with ADHD, and 43 children with TD participated in this study. The results revealed that the ASD-WoID and ADHD samples displayed significant and comparable delays in problem solving and calculation abilities. Lower VIQ was related to lower math achievement across all subgroups. The ASD-WoID sample differed from comparison samples in terms of their pattern of mathematical achievement and the role of cognitive abilities in the development of mathematics competence.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


Download references


The research reported in this paper was supported by IES Grant # IES R324A120168, and the UC Davis Department of Psychiatry Lisa Capps Endowment for Research on Education and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



JCB analyzed and interpreted all longitudinal data and wrote all sections of the paper. LSL corrdinated data collection, contributed to the research methods, concept, and analyses. MZ and NM collected data, contributed to the research methods and concepts. PM was the PI of grant support for the project, collaborated on manuscript revisions, interpretation of data analyses, and contributed to the research methods and concepts.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jennifer C. Bullen.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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 (UC Davis Office of Research Institutional Review Board (IRB) Protocol 236498-14) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent (parents) and informed assent (children) was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Bullen, J.C., Swain Lerro, L., Zajic, M. et al. A Developmental Study of Mathematics in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or Typical Development. J Autism Dev Disord 50, 4463–4476 (2020).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • ADHD
  • Math achievement
  • Academic achievement