Making Math Accessible, One Step at a Time


Presented at 11:15am in Virtual A on Thursday, November 12, 2020.



  • Lisa Wadors Verne, Director of Educational Research and Development, Benetech

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 45 minutes
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: All Levels
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


Many students struggle with math. For students with disabilities, barriers to accessible math can hinder future job choices and limit career opportunities. Students with cognitive disabilities and learning disabilities need help developing number sense, and showing work, for example. Learn how multi-modal mathematical tools like Mathshare can help.


Barriers to education for PWD are strong in the field of mathematics. Math requires executive functioning skills to keep track of homework assignments, to decide where to start on complicated word problems, and to prevent the errors that result from rushing through problems. It also requires key developmental math concepts that rely on solid number sense, such as the coexistence between parts of a number and its whole, which is necessary for understanding abstract division, ratios, and fractions. These skills disproportionately affect students with learning disabilities, particularly dyscalculia.

Benetech is developing a free, open-source learning tool that students can use to show their work in an accessible format. Mathshare focuses on working step-by-step through math equations and is designed to be inclusive of all students, including those who have learning disabilities, motor difficulties, and blindness or low vision. Join us to learn how to leverage platforms like Mathshare.


  1. Multi-modal learning, is necessary for students with learning disabilities to grasp complex math concepts.
  2. Pre-math reasoning disproportionately affect students with learning disabilities, particularly dyscalculia.
  3. Leverage online platforms like Mathshare to engage students and create a more inclusive classroom environment

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Other, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, Assistive Technology, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Lisa Wadors Verne

Lisa Wadors Verne, Ph.D. is Director, Education Research and Development at Benetech, a nonprofit that empowers communities with software for social good. She serves as the Project Director for the DIAGRAM Center and is co-producer of the DIAGRAM Report, an annual brief about emerging technologies and their promise for kids with disabilities. Lisa has spoken about accessible educational materials and inclusive practices at many notable conferences around the globe. She has a doctorate in Special Education and Policy from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University, Joint Doctoral program with a focus on teachers’ beliefs about including children with special needs in typically developing classrooms. With nearly two decades in Educational research and application, Dr. Wadors Verne has particular expertise in special education policy and law, inclusion, and family and school collaboration. Dr. Wadors Verne holds a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing from Villanova University and an M. A. in Early Childhood Special Education from Santa Clara University.