Recently, I attended an IEP meeting. While this is not unusual for me, the team did discuss how one of my sons does not know how to:
- Properly work math word problems.
- Be successful with multiple choice tests.
- Score well on end-of-grade benchmarks/tests with extensive modifications and accommodations already in place.
A. Lift up head and howl at the sky.
B. Give up and go shopping.
C. Strong-arm partner to deal with this.
D. Devise a plan.
I made a plan, of course. The IEP team decided to try a social story to teach skills needed for multiple choice questions. We also covered incorporating visual supports when teaching math word problems.
I made a social story about math word problems and a visual aid for teaching or reviewing concepts. The visual aid is a spiral of ruled index cards handy for travelling to and from home and school. It makes a flip book for studying, like flashcards, only they don’t scatter and get lost. It can also sit up easily on a desk or table to help as a teaching reminder. Although the story and index cards tackle my child’s particular learning issues, use this as a stepping stone for helping your child at home or your student in school.
Before I make anything, it’s important for me to know exactly how my child struggles. I get feedback from teachers, in addition to using my observations and knowledge of my child’s learning style at home. The obvious: my child marks wrong answers and tests badly. The question is why? My child is language-delayed, but has a strong drive to finish tasks, enjoys independence, and is a concrete, visual learner.
His Math testing accommodations are: Alternate assessment (NCEXTEND2), Extended time, Mark in book, Read aloud, and Separate room testing. It’s possible his reading comprehension is holding him up, in addition to his racing to finish. I decided to use images from some of his interests to grab his attention. He likes Rayman Rabbids and Ed, Edd, and Eddy. I also requested to add a highlighter to his testing accommodations, which we will teach him to use.
The real learning comes when I try something I’ve made on my children. I then make those parts where a child doesn’t understand more concrete or visual. For example, my son couldn’t understand in the social story below why the answer wasn’t 9 buses. The last calculation was not a whole number. 9 was not one of the answer choices. I had to revise the story to teach that sometimes we need to round numbers up or down to get the closest answer.
I’ll post examples of some strategies for a reading selection with multiple choice questions next week. These teaching techniques are not just for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, but may prove helpful for all who learn visually or need extra support in breaking down multi-step tasks. The math question in the social story is from the North Carolina End-of-Grade Test sample items.academic visual supports, Alison Davis, autism, Autism Society of North Carolina, Autism Society of North Carolina Bookstore, momof3au, social stories for skills acquisition, TEACCH