Monday, October 30, 2006

aspergers and Google Image

Another tool that we have been using for studying purposes recently is Google Image.

For example, Will is studying ecosystems in Science. We were given a long list of vocabulary that each student was expected to know for testing purposes. Will could memorize things easily enough, and we did the read the book/memorize the highlighted words/write index cards preparation for the unit test. But Will is a visual learner, and so I had prepared a flip chart booklet for Will by typing in a vocabulary word, i.e. "herbivore," or "biotic factor" into Google image, and then looking for and then printing whatever picture was suitable for that vocab word. When I gave this book to him, he was so jazzed! He loved that thing!

Like the index card studying, using Google image for a visual reference of a vocabulary word helps to break the topic down into manageable chunks. As Will's parents, we are doing this work now, but in the future, I will suggest to Will that he make his own "booklet" up by downloading images off of Google that are appropriate to what he is studying. The pictures are colorful, differ in size and subject matter, and just make it more interesting AND personal to study.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Aspergers and index cards

I wrote recently about us using index cards as a way to study for our children who have a hard time concentrating.

We have used them for two tests now, and Will has come home with excellent grades on these two tests.

Aspies have a tendency to have a great ability for memorization, so I think that there is a possibility that Will would have done well on these tests anyway. But I like using the index card system because:

1. It takes what could be an overwhelming situation (studying for a unit test) and breaks it down into small chunks.

2. Will seems to like the idea of using the index cards. He is motivated to do so because he gets to use different colored pens, and memorizing is something he is good at.

3. Writing down info on the index cards is helpful with learning what aspects of a unit are important to know, learning how to break information down into bite-size pieces that are easier to manage, and the very process of writing helps with memorization and handwriting skills.

4. Using the daily writing of index cards helps break up the homework load. For example, if the test happened to come on a day when there were all sorts of other homework, then trying to study after doing three hours of other homework would be too much, and not very effective. If one uses the index cards on a daily basis, then by the time the test day arrives, the studying has been done over a course of weeks, rather than in one very stressful night.

We actually began this system, at the same age, with our NT daughter. She is now a sophomore in high school, and uses index cards CONSTANTLY to study. It just makes the whole "studying for a test" much easier.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Aspergers and chunking

Will is now in the fifth grade, and this seems to be the year where they are really having big tests, having to learn how to take notes, and generally learning a lot of skills that are somewhat difficult for aspergers kids.

Today is the big social studies test on ancient peoples. Last night I made a bunch of index cards for Will, so that he could read bits of information at a time and memorize it. I gave him maybe seven to ten cards at a time, had him read them, test himself, and then come to me so I could test him.

He did amazingly well! I'm sure he won't remember everything (although his memory, like most aspie kids, is really good), and I'm sure that sometimes he'll be confused by a true/false question, or a multiple choice question, but what kid isn't? He seemed to have most of the information down.

What I would like to do with him, if I can get myself to be this organized, is to have Will write one index card per day on his social studies chapter. In the beginning, I will write the word that is to be defined, and have him find it in the book and write the definition straight out of the book. Eventually I would like to teach him how to find the important things to know out of the book on his own, but I figure that will have to come later in the year (or in later years). But I figure that if he wrote index cards of information for one page per day, by the time the test came, he really wouldn't even have to study -- he would just be prepared and would know the information.

I figure that working with these index cards is basically "chunking," a term that educators use that means taking lots of information and breaking it down into small "chunks."

This will cost some $$$ in index cards (can you buy index cards in bulk at Costco?), and will cost time in that I have to actually read his social studies book (as well as science, math, etc.) but in the end, it will be worth it because I'm hoping that it will lower the stress of studying for tests.

I'll let you know how the test turns out. ALSO, I would be extremely happy if any parents out there read this and have other ideas of how to make studying easier for their kids.


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