How Special Needs Brothers Lundy and Richie Found Success with Math Games

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It’s hard enough for working parents to juggle the demands of this unconventional school year. 

For parents of kids with developmental, learning, emotional, or physical disabilities, they’re likely experiencing added pressure.

Autumn is one of those parents. Six-year-old Lundy has autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). His brother, 4-year-old Richie, struggles with a behavior disorder. Both are mostly nonverbal communicators.

Like any parent, Autumn works tirelessly to provide for her kids.

“They are sweet, loving boys… and they deserve the chance to do well.”

But what they deserve poses a financial hardship for Autumn. She has her own medical issues, yet she’s determined to make ends meet.

“We spend over $10,000 a year in therapies. I have existing medical issues that cost more.”

Lately, her homeschooling help is a combination of online research, Facebook groups, therapists, and friends.

Like Autumn, you might be wondering if Elephant Learning is a cost-effective teaching tool. The short answer is a resounding yes.


Private tutoring is a booming business right now. Parents are worried about their kids falling behind in school, and those concerns aren’t unfounded. 

Studies show that kids lose some reading and numeracy skills over the summer break. With a disrupted school year underway, parents are supplementing their child’s education in some fashion.

Math deficiencies in kids span income lines. But parents with more expendable income are better equipped to adjust to this new normal. 

Such a high demand for private tutors makes them a costly and competitive option. 

And if you have a child that needs extra, specialized attention to address a disability or disorder, the affiliated costs rapidly add up.

According to recent data, Autumn’s situation is familiar to many families.

In 2020, the Centers for Disease Control reported that approximately 1 in 54 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (according to 2016 data).

Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. An estimated 40 percent of people with autism are nonverbal. And, ADHD affects an estimated 30 to 61 percent of children with autism. 

In a time where parents might feel particularly isolated as they face these challenges, it's good to be reminded that you’re not alone.

In fact, Elephant Learning’s pricing structure is intentionally designed to accommodate families that face a variety of challenges. 

We know that financial obstacles exist that are out of your control, and they shouldn’t be the reason why your child falls behind in their math learning. 

Math fluency is such a critical piece to lifelong success, and every child is deserving of that opportunity.

Related: Can Math End the Cycle of Poverty?

Finding Elephant Learning

Elephant Learning is a math games app for kids. The games are designed using research-based teaching methods to ensure your child is retaining math concepts. The games adjust to your child’s skill level to keep them engaged and challenged but not frustrated. 

Though your child only needs 30 minutes of playtime each week, they have unlimited access to their games. 

Parents and caregivers can include up to seven children on the same account. A progress report gives you immediate feedback on which math topics are being taught, and how you can reinforce those concepts.

Since Elephant Learning uses research-proven teaching principles, it can accommodate a variety of learning styles and challenges.

One of these teaching principles may sound simple, but it's powerful and important: repeating patterns.  A pattern is the way numbers are arranged, following a rule.

Repeating patterns were recently studied by researchers in the Department of Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University.

The study examined 65 preschool children’s repeating pattern knowledge and controlled for their various verbal and visual-spatial working memory skills. (Those working memory skills can also vary in autistic and ADHD children.)

They found that the children’s repeating pattern knowledge was “significantly predictive of their broad math and general numeracy knowledge… even after controlling for verbal and visual-spatial working memory skills.”

“Identifying predictable sequences based on underlying rules” appears to be a key skill for lasting math knowledge.

Repeating patterns are just one feature in the Elephant Learning math games, but it’s worth noting how important this skill is to lasting math success.

Counting to 10 out loud is not the same thing as understanding the repeating pattern (add 1 to the previous number). It’s these little nuances that you can easily overlook and presume your child understands a math concept. 

But Elephant Learning makes sure all these fundamentals are mastered incrementally. That’s how it builds lasting math conceptual mastery.

Lundy’s Experience With Elephant Learning

Six-year-old Lundy has autism, ADHD, and is a mostly nonverbal communicator. When he began playing Elephant Learning games, he was working with math concepts for a 4-and-half-year-old. 

After nine weeks of playtime, Lundy has mastered over three years of math concepts.

Elephant Learning games don’t require Lundy to say things out loud to play a game, which is ideal for his nonverbal communication style.

The age-appropriate animated icons provide enough stimulating variety to accommodate his interest on any given day — familiar items like race cars, dinosaurs, robots, tigers, basketballs, and strawberries. 

Lundy manipulates these icons to perform a variety of tasks, like placing objects on a numbered line. If he gets frustrated, he can  pick an entirely new game. 

If he’s not interested in playing at all, he can also skip a day. Averaging 30 minutes of playtime each week isn’t required, but it’s the sweet spot that leads to rapid results.

If Autumn is uncertain about how much playtime he’s had, she can easily see his weekly averages in the progress report.

And Elephant Learning gives Autumn some suggested activities she can do with Lundy to reinforce his math learning. She doesn’t have to waste precious time searching online to find helpful information — it's already at her fingertips.

Richie’s Experience With Elephant Learning

Four-year-old Richie struggles with a behavior disorder and is also a nonverbal communicator. But like his brother, Richie has already improved his math skills in just eight weeks. 

Elephant Learning assessed Richie’s existing math skills based on some introductory gameplay. It adapted his game options to meet his comfort level, which was equivalent to a 3-year-old’s math skills.

As Richie demonstrated mastery of each concept, the games changed to become incrementally more challenging — enough to keep him interested but not overwhelmed.

Now, he’s tackling math concepts for a 6-and-a-half-year-old student.

When Elephant Learning identifies a challenging concept for Richie, it also provides Autumn some important insights, too. It educates and reassures her that some roadblocks kids face are common, and provides tactics to help her coach her son.

Elephant Learning is a powerful resource for parents like Autumn. It’s a robust, effective math teaching tool for her kids. It gives her additional activities to play with her kids. And has already shown her lasting results.

Related: How a Math App for Kids Gives Parents the Teaching Empowerment They Crave

Lundy’s Results: 

  • Age: 6.3
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 4.6
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 8
  • The difference after nine weeks: 3.4 years

Richie’s Results: 

  • Age: 4
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 3
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 6.6
  • The difference after eight weeks: 3.6 years

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