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Special Needs Query

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by Mrs_RLW, May 16, 2018.

  1. Mrs_RLW

    Mrs_RLW New commenter

    Hi all,
    I'm currently tutoring a student who has autism (non-specific) and a My Plan at school. After I tested him I found he has very poor working memory and fed this back to the school, who I have a good relationship with, and they increased his 1 to 1 provision at school.

    These are the issues which I'm a bit stumped on and hope someone will be able to give me some practical tips:
    - He is absolutely fine with arithmetic, but really struggles to switch from one method/process to another in the same session. E.g. I gave him a sheet of equivalent fractions, a mixture of ones that needed to be simplified (division) and ones that needed a larger equivalent found (multiply). He multiplied them all - even though he knew he needed to divide, he still multiplied - he couldn't switch methods. This happens with lots of maths topics. He also really struggles with word problems, identifying the operation needed.
    - With reading he's brilliant with retrieval type questions, but cannot understand inference questions. Also we have recently been working on synonyms and he really struggled to think of any beyond the absolute basic - if I give him a list of words he can define each one but finds it difficult to link them as synonyms or come up with any himself.

    I will try and contact the school SENCO to see what strategies they use to address these issues. In the mean time if anyone has any wise advice I'd really appreciate it!
  2. theluckycat

    theluckycat Occasional commenter

    This is very common autistic/Aspergers stuff. My Aspergers son has the same issues.
    The maths issue is because he will have problems with rigid thinking, therefore transitioning from one task to another is more difficult for him, as flexibility of thought is challenging for those with the condition. Possible solution: write on a whiteboard what you will be doing that lesson so that he is prepared more for the tasks, like a visual timetable. Things won't come as so much of a surprise then, and he will hopefully be a bit more prepared for different activities. This should also hopefully reduce anxiety. Show him briefly the activities that you will be doing so that he is aware that in the example above he will need to be carrying out different methods, to give him a bit of a heads up. Autistic children tend to be visual thinkers, so with the word problems could you fall back on pictorial methods?

    English: autistic children can lack imaginative thinking, so he just can't think of any synonyms. I did this in the car with my son last week strangely and he had the same issue. Possible solution: make it visual too? e.g. go onto google images, type in dark, look at the pictures, ask him what the opposite is? hopefully he'll say light, look at pictures of light scenes etc.
    Inference, reading between the lines, metaphors etc. is a kind of social blindness that is typically autistic too, quite a difficult one but maybe talk through your thinking, draw a story mountain of what has happened in the story to aid comprehension and linked-up thinking. He is likely to struggle with metaphor like 'raining cats and dogs,' as many autistic people are literal thinkers, so that you're aware of that.

    I'm sure as you get to know him he will make progress, well done for putting so much thought and effort into helping him.
  3. Mrs_RLW

    Mrs_RLW New commenter

    Thank you for your reply. I've been reading and researching and what you say makes perfect sense. I always make a 'timetable' on index cards for the session, but like you say I think I need to give him a bit more warning of the upcoming need to be flexible. Great reminder about the visuals too, I'll do more of that. Really appreciate it :)
  4. theluckycat

    theluckycat Occasional commenter

    You’re welcome, you’re doing a great job.

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