Thursday, January 15, 2015

Early Math for Autism

Math is one subject where the predictability and routine-like characteristics of Autism are nurtured. Rules are consistent and there is only ONE answer.

When choosing Mathematics goals for my students, I try to envision where I see them twenty years from now. Will they be able to use money to do their own shopping? Will they need to tell time to self-regulate their own schedule to avoid anxiety? Will they be able to hold a job where they are required to sort stock on a grocery shelf? While mainstream students are taught many concepts which (let's face it) they may not use in 'real life', there is little point in teaching a student with Autism anything which will not enhance their quality of life and independent skills for the future.

1. Matching & Sorting

What: Sorting by Size, Shape, Colour, Attributes and Function
Life Skills: Putting items away where they belong, cleaning up, laundry, following directions, sorting money.

2. Number Recognition

What: Teaches students to recognize written numbers expressively and/or receptively
Life Skills: Reading a clock, reading a bus schedule, following a recipe, following written directions, completing math problems, finding a room number, reading quantities, reading a calendar, rolling a dice.

3. 1:1 Correspondence

What: Teaches students to recognize numbers of objects in groups with/without counting.
Life Skills: Setting a table for an appropriate number of people, serving people at a table, handing out flyers, delivering items, dressing.

4. Patterning

What: Recognizing, creating and extending patterns.
Life Skills: Setting a table (fork, plate, knife, cup, fork, plate, etc...), learning songs and rhythms, literacy activities using repetitive texts, remembering routines.

5. Quantity

What: How many, how much, more and less.
Life Skills: Taking attendance, comparing amounts of money, calculating change.

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