Depending on the grade level of your student or child, a math word problem may involve simple addition to complex rate problems, and everything in between. This week’s blog will explore as many different resources as possible to support word problems in a comprehensive way.
We will begin with several instructional strategies that are relevant for any content area:
Steps of the Process
Models of Correct Work
The first website that I offer is http://www.brightstorm.com/math/. This site has video demonstrations of just about every type of math problem in algebra, geometry, algebra 2, trigonometry, precalculus and calculus. You can also enter your own problem and get a solution. For $4.99 a month, you can get an interactive online tool that will show you the steps to solving any math problem you enter.
There is nothing amusing about “the meltdown”. It is reflective of a complete loss of control of the person with an autism spectrum disorder. It is often loud, risky at times, frustrating, and exhausting.
Here is a video that explains meltdowns from the perspective of someone living with autism. Feel free to share with others, as it is available through youtube.
Ask an Autistic: What is a meltdown?
One might say that the loss of control overtakes the child. They need their teacher or parent to recognize this and help them to regain control, as they are unable to do so on their own. A child with autism in the middle of the meltdown desperately needs help to regain composure.
Moreover, it becomes critical to learn to recognize when the meltdown is imminent.
In this way, you can both work to prevent a meltdown. The individual with an autism spectrum disorder needs to learn how to recognize the feelings of escalation and then actualize strategies to de-escalate before the crisis ensues.
That is why a “feelings chart” or “emotion rating scale” can be such an important strategy.
Notice the left column of this particular feelings chart. It should be reviewed when calm to help identify the internal and external indicators that emotions are changing. The right hand column is just as, if not more important, in that it helps to identify calming strategies for that particular individual.
It is best to intervene early in the escalation process to increase the likelihood of a successful solution to the situation.
We are not “giving in to” or “reinforcing” negative behavior when providing one of these calming strategies, but rather throwing a lifeline to someone that is unraveling neurologically for many possible reasons.
How do we decrease neurological stress? The following is an excerpt from my recent book titled “Visual Supports for Visual Thinkers: Practical Ideas for Students with ASDs and Other Special Educational Needs”
A research team funded by the National Institutes of Health found that, in people with autism, brain areas normally associated with visual tasks also appear to be active during language-related tasks. This provides evidence to explain a bias towards visual thinking that is common in those with autism.
Try this little activity: the following statement is about neurological processing.
“Visual’s a strength, auditory ain’t.”
As you say this, make goggles with your hands to cover your eyes. Then try saying it again while cupping your hands to make ear muffs over your ears. This little exercise will help your brain to remember a key statement about the preference for those with ASD for visual versus auditory learning. This understanding is the first step for taking a different course of action when responding to the behavior of those struggling with neurological stress.
How do we decrease neurological stress? The following is an excerpt from my recent book titled Visual Supports for Visual Thinkers: Practical Ideas for Students with ASDs and Other Special Educational Needs.
A research team funded by the National Institutes of Health (2006) found that, in people with autism, brain areas normally associated with visual tasks also appear to be active during language-related tasks, providing evidence to explain a bias towards visual thinking that is common in autism.
Although grammatically incorrect, the following statement is about neurological processing. Visual’s a strength, auditory ain’t. As you say this, make goggles and cover your eyes with your hands. Then, cup your hands and make ear muffs over your ears. This will help your brain to remember an essential understanding that is the foundation for taking a different course of action when responding to the behavior of those struggling with neurological stress.
To process information auditorily means to capture transient information, the spoken word, interpret its meaning and find the most appropriate response within the vast catalog of possibilities in the brain. That requires a great deal of work for any brain, but often becomes a daunting task for individuals with ASDs. If someone gave you a list of 20 grocery items to buy verbally, you would probably be able to remember the first six or seven and forget the others. To decrease your stress about keeping all 20 items in your brain and increase the likelihood that you will successfully purchase the entire list, you would probably want to write them down. Furthermore, you feel a sense of accomplishment as you check off each item.
Over the years one question is always asked at the end of every autism workshop Sam and I have been privileged to present. To paraphrase, it goes like this:
“Sam this question is for you. We just found out our teenage son has (this part she whispers) Autism. I am unsure whether to tell him, his siblings or anyone else for that matter. What are your thoughts…should we tell?”
Since the question is directed at Sam…all eyes are on him waiting his response. For this reference, the woman asking the question is a composite of all the mothers who’ve asked this of Sam more times than I can count. She stands with tears in her eyes and is truly grappling with the recent diagnosis of Autism yet has hope after hearing Sam talk about growing up on the spectrum. She relates, she hurts and she hopes. So answering this common question takes thought. Samuels response is why I am writing this post. It comes straight from the heart of a young man who understands what autism ‘feels’ like. He is able to offer an insight, perhaps, into her own sons inner workings, workings that the parent has yet to grasp.
So when Sam, on his own, offered up his opinion it seemed appropriate to share with you now as it always seems to sooth the inquiring Moms fears.
“Why would you not tell your son of his diagnosis? Believe me, he knows he is wired differently. He already knows he is not like his peers and probably feels like an outcast. It might even be a relief to know he has autism as there will finally be an explanation for most everything he is experiencing such as frustration, social loss and even physical pain. At the very least, he (and you) can begin to face the challenges through treatment(s). The diagnosis of autism isn’t a death sentence. It’s a road map of the brain. Understand the brain and map out a direction. Don’t think of Autism as a weight…think of it as a pair of wings in which to fly. ”
Inevitably, the Mom appears relieved and hugs Sam as if to thank him for permission to let the word, Autism, come into their lives. I know because we started from the same place.
The topics discussed in this blog are often inspired by questions from readers. This week’s topic of developing social skills is in response to such a question from a parent.
As you develop social skills, it would be helpful to identify the specific skill[s] that you and your child feels would be most beneficial. For instance, do they struggle in initiating conversations?
If so, then two strategies might be helpful that you can work on at home.
First, conversation starters or scripts might provide the support necessary to engage in this difficult social skill. More information can be found in a publication title: Life Journey Through Autism: An Educator’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome which is available as a free download at the following website: http://researchautism.org/
A companion strategy is video modeling.
Depending on the specific skills that you want to develop, you can either make, find or purchase videos that teach how to do that specific skill. I have found some quality videos on YouTube or TeacherTube. Another resource for purchase is available through Model Me Kids at http://www.modelmekids.com/.
In trying to provide information about programs that are evidence-based, I would like to share the following from the attached article titled:
Evidence-Based Social Skills Training for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The UCLA PEERS Program
I am the father of a son with Aspergers Syndrome and through the years of my wife and I raising him, it has had many challenges for me. As a father I wanted him to take interest in outdoor activities, sports and other things that we could do together but while he was not interested in these things there were other items of interest that I had to adapt to in order to spend the most amount of quality time with him.
While he may not have had interest in what I thought a young boy, now a man, “should” be interested in, he has opened my eyes to a different world that has brought us closer together over the years. I just had to be the one to approach his interests with an open mind and with the idea that these were things we could do as a father and son.
The many times that my son was being called names or bullied by his peers I had to be supportive and encouraging in creative ways, primarily to teach him how to ignore those and look forward to the future with special father and son times together.
Some words of advice from a father of an aspie:
Learn to be a listener;
Take interest in his activities, not those you think a young man should take interest in;
Find things to do outside the home that you can teach him and he is interested in;
Be supportive and patient, as typically those with Aspergers will find it difficult to relate to things we take for granted as well as conveying their thoughts in the same manner we are accustomed to;
Above all, be a father as well as a dad, they will never forget the times you spend with them and the memories you are making.
Although sensory differences are very real and must be recognized as such, narratives can help to deal with these differences. For instance, there was a high school student that was having significant difficulty with the hallway transition from class to class. Not only was there the loud bell that signals the transition, but then it was followed by a crowded hallway and noisy teenagers talking in groups.
One way to address this might be to allow an early release from class to avoid much of this hallway chaos. Another option is to provide a narrative that helps deal with this difficult transition.
The following is an example of such a narrative:
Passing Period at High School
My name is ___________. I am a student at _________ High School.
In High School, there are different periods. A bell rings at the end of each period.
When the bell rings, the students walk in the hall to go to their next class.
Sometimes, the students make a lot of noise as they walk down the hallway. This might hurt my ears.
That is O.K. The passing period lasts only for a few minutes. Soon, the halls will be quiet again.
I remember that I can just wear my headphones & listen to music during the passing period.
Then, I will get to walk to my next class where it is nice and quiet.
I can do this!
Staff noticed that the student would repeat the story to himself while walking down the hall. A narrative can validate feelings, provide a solution and even offer comfort during a stressful time.
The following is another example of a narrative addressing sensory issues. This time, the narrative was written for a student that wanted to hug her classmates frequently and deeply to get that deep pressure feeling.
Our son has Aspergers Syndrome. However, getting the diagnosis didn’t come easy and the path to that diagnosis was rocky to say the least. That was over 10 years ago and still the following checklist we received from our school district is the best heads-up to having Aspergers Syndrome that I’ve seen to date. It cuts to the chase.
The following is only meant as a ‘checklist’. Remember, this is not an official document, and is only meant to act as a flag for a strong suspicion of Aspergers Syndrome, a doctor or trained therapist would need to make the official diagnosis.
However if you are looking for a guideline of sorts, it doesn’t get much better or black and white than the form below. It was spot on for us describing our son Sam. We’ve also put it in a downloadable format at the bottom. May it lead you towards illumination!-Jennifer Allen/Aspergers101
Helping your teenager stay physically active and healthy
Your adolescent is getting taller, eating more, and gaining weight. It happens parents, our kids grow and eat more while moving less. Between school and therapies who has time for the gym, right? Well, unfortunately, we tend to place fitness in the back burner when in reality it should be in the forefront.
Our health should have as much importance to us as education or physical therapy or speech therapy. Adolescence is a great time to begin incorporating health and fitness and I will be discussing some quick pointers to help with that transition.