Math can be the source of refreshing challenges and variety. This is this morning's session, where I chose to use dot-to-dots to teach counting by 5's while exercising all our interactive-gym type of activities. The bottom line for my team watching this is that you're always teaching something, whether it's turn-taking or math, to keep it interesting and spur growth through challenge and celebration. And you have to think on your feet and figure things out!! Notice all program principles weave together to invite and sustain quality interactions throughout.
I am using the "adding variety" component of the Son-Rise® Program to encourage my daughter to learn math concepts like counting by "5s" using an adult-level-complexity dot-to-dot puzzle book (David Kalvitis). Notice the following elements in the interaction:
- Loving, accepting, nonjudgmental and happy attitude, expressed as the "3 e's" (energy, excitement and enthusiasm), whether expressed loudly or quietly, showing focus and and a level of interest and intense engagement
- Joining when she goes into her own world
- Celebrating interactions and other things we want more of such as trying at and/or successfully doing the activity requested (in this case math-based dot-to-dot game)
- Adding variety in this case the math counting activity and switching off turns, various ways of counting, etc.
Note also a key component is figuring things out and trying things and observing how they feel and seem and work. This is roughly speaking evolving the technique. Everyone in our program needs to think on their feet what would be most helpful, compelling/ enticing, comprehensible, in conversation or any other interactive activity.
For example, I was playing dot to dots with her at first and thought there wasn't much to "do with" this activity besides taking turns, then realized it could facilitate math challenges which would make if fun, challenging and more interesting. Why should dot-to-dots be done in increasing order, why not decreasing? If they could be interactive rather than solitary, what would that take? I can turn just about any activity into a joint one, even reading a book, and make it more fun and useful for practice on interaction such as prompting conversation from both of us that helps her practice elements of her speech she's working on or other skills like math.
Buying the series of dot-to-dot books that are at this adult level of challenges was itself an attempt to make learning math interesting and fun. Whenever you have a challenge to teach someone (autistic kids especially) think what is the way people use that skill in society or even for fun and then do it, using an analogy to support this if necessary (such as saying when you are looking for something, detectives and investigators would search for it, for example).
We were already doing this activity for about a half hour when we set up to videotape this 20 min.