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Maths student who does not know six is the same as 6!!

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by scrags, May 3, 2011.

  1. I have a student, mid 20's, who has ASD. He communicates pretty well and can read well. The problem I have is with teaching him maths. He can do a sum such as 253 - 168 without any problem, but he cannot work out six plus four equals. He can read what it says, but cannot associate that with numbers.

    Can anyone advise any way of working with him? Have tried pictures and getting him to write out the words in different colours, but nothing seems to be working.

    Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. Wanderer007

    Wanderer007 New commenter

    If he can do 253 - 168, then why not do 10 - 4 = 6 and convince your student by inverse operations? How about combining with a different language (e.g. French) and you'll see if it is an arbitrary issue with the language your student uses, or a fundamental issue with the concept. Just a couple of thoughts. [​IMG]
  3. If I understand correctly he can do 10 - 4 = 6 BUT not do TEN - FOUR = SIX ... is that corect?
  4. Yes, that is the exact problem. Can do the sum in numbers but not words!! He can read the word quite happily but not relate it to the number.
  5. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter





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    try an Audio method.

    I assume that he will say six for the numeral six.

    I would use something like an electronic copy of the OED. It has a audio for
    many words.

    Currently there does seem to be a blockage somewhere in the process for him.

    The idea is to find a path that is 'blocked' to him.

    Repetition and familiarity help.

    Does he understand the difference between the ideas of digits [numerals 0-9]
    and 'number' as in digit with place value.

    He obviously understands the latter but I suspect there is something that
    does not fit into the pattern of regularity of his world that he can cope with.

    Reinforcement can be achieved through activities.

    Consider a Matching card type game. E.g. Dominoes with words and numbers.

    Symbols and number systems.

    Does he know what Roman numerals are? This is a step towards accepting that
    there are alternative ways of representing numbers. He should be familiar with
    clocks that have Roman numerals.

    Show him Egyptian numbers for example.Try grouping the traditional Hindu-Arabic numeral with Roman numerals.
    Try to get him to complete a table [tables] that matches different representation of various amounts.

    I wish you the very best of luck.

  6. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    Sorry about the microsoft word nonsense that it paste into the message.
  7. The more I read / hear about ASD/ASC the more I recognise things I do or that make total sense to me.
    Six is NOT the same as 6. One is a word, the other is a number.Tht was my gut reaction, the word six represents 6 but they are not the same.
    When other than in a maths class are they the same? Bus numbers are always 123 not one, two, three.
    You write one, six, or whatever when you are writing English not when you are working with numbers.
    I wonder if that's how he thinks.
    Maybe the concept of a number having a value and a name would work. A bit like a woman called Mary Smith might be called Mary, or Ms Smith or even Mary, Jayne Smith depending on the context but it is the same person.
    The same with 6, (or whatever number) it's friends all call it 6 but it has another name for special ccasions and that name is six.

    That made sense to me but not sure anyone else would understand it.

  8. That's a very interesting point. I remember reading Bill Bryson's book Mother Tongue a while back and there was a bit about ancient Chinese symbols. Apparantly many people in China could look at the symbol and know what it means, but they wouldn't be able to have a verbal conversation with an ancient because the spoken language has changed so much.
    He then makes the analogy that you could write 10 - 4 = 6 and give it to a French person and she would know what it means - but you would both say it in a completely different way from one another.
    This has given me pause for thought!
    Kevin (OCR GCSE Maths)
  9. I find all this fascinating. If you also bear in mind that SIX starts out life as an adjective, six biscuits, six children then suddenly becomes a noun SIX, then an abstract squiggle. Is it any wonder children struggle with the langauge! They hear one thing but see two representations of it!
    Makes me think more about how we expect children to jump adjective to noun to squiggle without thiking twice about it, granted most children manage this happily but for those few who don't is it worth thinking about what they are actually being asked to do. As a child with ASC particulary finds languauge difficult and will most probably have an almost set in stone concept about the squiggle and the word he will need help to accept that it has different uses.How children learn all this is amazing!

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