Teaching math at first seemed like an impossible task to me. Guy didn’t understand what is counting or how to add simple sums or even subitising
which is Instantly recognizing the number of objects in a small group, without counting . for example: when holding 3 fingers up a child automatically know its 3 .
I can remember it made me anxious and protective whenever people asked him “How much is 2 + 5 or any simple sum …something that is expected of children of primary school age . I knew he didn’t have a clue .
As a teacher I used to feel impatient with children who “didn’t get it “….but when my son did not understand simple concepts I developed an enormous amount of patience and creativity , qualities I did not think exist in me .
I started reading a lot about neuroplasticity and that children are often mislabeled with a learning problem when it is often a vision/development related problem . In schools children are often labeled as being ‘Dyslectic’ , ‘Dyscalculia’ and so on …. I didn’t want to label my child as “Dys” before finding out if there not some neuro-development issue that is causing these learning difficulties .
I thought there must be a way to teach him and I knew these answers wont be given to me by our national health service – the NHS or the school .
It is a known fact that learning is more effective through movement.
Embodied Cognition is the notion that the body influences the mind .
It is when our motor system influences our cognition just as our mind has an impact on our bodily actions. It has become a very hot topic in many researches and many neuro-scientists are talking about it .
We all learn differently and some of the activities will work for some and some will work for others , the key to all activities is to use a Multi-sensory approach and be creative . My resources and activities are aimed at a low budget .
As I have stated earlier my belief that we can rewire our brain and the wonderful results I have had has guided me through this journey.
Changes are possible ……amazing changes are possible!!!
Teaching to count : My method was a multi-sensory approach combing Floortime , movement and tactile .
During these years I converted my bedroom into a sensory room . My mattress was put leaning against the wall and the entire space was devoted for our exercises. My priority was helping Guy “bridge “ the gaps in his development, I preferred having a “sensory room rather than a bedroom. As my husband was always very supportive , it was his decision as well.
As we live in England and often have “cold weather” which Guy didn’t adapt well to cold weather as it often caused him to be non responsive and apathetic. So instead of jumping on our Trampoline outside we did our jumping indoors.
I used many different ways to give him the understanding of the counting .
We did a lot of jumping : we put a variety of cushions on the floor together with a ‘Bosu’ (fitness training device) and mini trampoline and practiced counting from 1-10 and counting backwards as well.
*We balanced on a balance board while hitting a ball to the wall , supporting hand-eye coordination at the same time of balancing and counting .
Resources for Counting:
- Three Bear Family Counters
- Counting his favourite toys.
- Easy to make velcro chart like the one below:
- Dienz Blocks (great resource to understand place value)
- As stated by Harry Wachs in his book Visual/Spatial Portals to thinking, feeling and movement “These blocks are useful for developing numerical literacy and can help the child develop the visual infrastruction for mathematical thought”. (Visual/Spatial Portals to Thinking,Feeling and Movement page 426) .