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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