Brighton Kumatongo, 2019-Teaching Math to Learners with Intellectual Disabilities

Learners with Intellectual Disabilities face challenges in learning Mathematical Concepts. The use of appropriate teaching techniques may help learners with intellectual disabilities to gradually lean mathematics.
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  14/10/20191 Teaching Mathematical concepts to learners with intellectual disabilities Brighton KumatongoSenior LecturerKitwe College of Education,© 2019   Definition of Intellectual Disability(ID) Intellectual Disability (ID) formerly Mental Retardation (MR) is a significant sub average intellectual functioning that occurs during developmental period (before 18 years), and existsconcurrently with deficits in two or more adaptive behaviour such as conceptual skills, social skills and practical skills(APA,2013;Ke & Liu, 2012)with an IQ under 70. Conceptual skills;  include language and literacy, time andnumberconcepts and self-direction.  Social skills;  include interpersonal skills, social responsibility,self-esteem, ability to follow or obey rules and laws. Practical skills;  include activities of daily living, occupationalskills, travel or transportation, healthcare, schedules/routines,use of money, use of telephone and safety issues.(Schalock etal., 2007;Shree & Shukla ,2016).Intellectual disability can be mild, moderate, severe or   profound.  Mild   IQ is between 50 and 69.  Moderate  between 35 and 49 (Adams & Oliver, 2011).  Severe;  IQ between 20 and 34,whereas Profound IQ is usually below 20 (Ke & Liu, 2012;Adams & Oliver, 2011). ID can also be  syndromic  or   non syndromic . Mathematical concepts Mathematical knowledge can be in three categories;  Procedural knowledge ,  procedural flexibility  and  conceptual knowledge .  (Rittle-Johnson & Star, 2007;Bottge et al., 2007). Procedural knowledge ; Basic skills on sequence and stepsrequired to solve Math problems.  Procedural flexibility   aredifferent ways in which an individual can solve a particular mathematical problem.  Conceptual knowledge is the ability tograsp mathematical concepts and ideas and apply them to any problem solving situation. Difficulties faced by learners with ID in learning Mathematics a)  Difficulty with  spatial relationships ,  distances  and  sequencing   of objects(Geary et al., 2004). Spatial relationship deals withconcepts of where objects are located in relationship to other objects. b)  Sequencing of objects ; Sequencing involves  one’s  understandingon how series of objects or activities occur in a logical order. c)  Difficulties with  time  and understanding  money  value and shopping (Kumatongo, 2019) .  Time is a functional skill, learnerswith ID face difficulties with topics relating to time; telling time,keeping track of time, estimating time, monetary concepts, andcounting money. d)  Difficulties with the  abstract symbols used in mathematics . Learners tend to confused with the symbols; +, -, x, <, =, >, %, 6,9, 5 ,2 (Geary,2004; Hord & Xin, 2015) .d) Challenges with  Basic Number Fact  ;  learners failing torecall how someone found an answer and strategy used. For  instance, the answer to 2+2, 3+2 or 3-1 (Kumatongo, 2019). e) Challenges with addition and subtraction of numbers(Kumatongo, 2019). A study by Kumatongo(2019)further revealed that learners with syndromic intellectualdisabilities(Down Syndrome) exhibited more challenges thantheir peers with non syndromic intellectual disabilities inaddition, subtraction, number facts, identification of abstractmathematical symbols and numbersequencing.Solutions to math challenges by   Learners    with    IDa) Using  Task analysis  and manipulatives  (Browder etal., 2012; Zisimopoulos,2010). b) Visual representations  and manipulatives  help attachmeaningto math concepts .  14/10/20192 c)The use of   assistivetechnology  helps learners with ID to understandmath concepts (Burton et al., 2013).d)Using  play   and  games:  Learning takes through play, becauseplay is  interactive  and  motivative .  Games can promotehand-eye coordination, turn-taking, ability to combineobjects and spatial skills (Lisi & Wolford, 2002; Munsaka &Kalinde,2017). e) Using  Math stories, songs  and  graphic organisers f) Using  Multisensory approach ; abbreviated as  ‘VAKT’ (Visual-Auditory-Knaesthetic Tactile), Multisensory approachis learning facilitated by presentation of information indifferent modalities (Murphy, 1997). The approach can enablelearnerstosee, hear, touchand manipulateobjects. Conclusion Learners with Intellectual Disabilities can learn providedteachers use  appropriate techniques ; consistent with their  pedagogical practices  ,  provide appropriate  reinforcement   and exercise patience . ReferencesAmerican Psychiatric Association (2013).  Diagnostic and  statistical manual of mental disorders .(5 th ed). Washington,DC:APA.Adams, D., Oliver, C. (2011). The expression and assessment of  emotions and internal states in individuals with severe or   profound intellectual disabilities.  Clinical Psychology Review,31 ,293-306.Bottge, B. A., Rueda, E., LaRoque P. T., Serlin, R. C., & Kwon, J.(2007). Integrating reform-oriented math instruction in specialeducation settings . Learning Disabilities Research and  Practice, 22 (2), 96   –  109 Browder, D. M., Ahlgrim-Delzell, L., Flowers, C., & Baker, J. N.(2012). An evaluation of a Multi component early literacy program for students with severe developmental disabilities.  Remedial and Special Education, 33 , 237-246.doi:10.1177/0741932510387305  14/10/20193 Geary, D. C. (2004). Mathematics and learning disabilities . Journal of Learning Disabilities, 37, 4-15. Hord, C. & Xin, Y.P. (2015). Teaching Area and Volume toStudents With Mild Intellectual Disability . The Journal of Special Education,49(2) 118  –  128. Johnson, J. E., Christie, J. F., & Yawkey, T. D. (1999).  Play and   Early Childhood Development   (2nd Ed.), NewYork: Longman. Ke, X., & Liu J.(2012).  Intellectual Disability . Geneva:International Association for Child and Adolescent PsychiatryandAllied Professions Kumatongo, B.(2019). Study on learning of Mathematicalconcepts by learnerswith intellectual disabilities. International Journal of Humanities and Social ScienceResearch : Social-5-4-43 Lisi, R. D., & Wolford, J. L. (2002). Improving  Chidren’s  MentalRotation Accuracy with Computer Game Playing.  The Journal of Genetic Psychology,163  (3), 272  –  282Munsaka,E.,& Kalinde,B.(2017).  Laying the foundation for Optimal Outcomes in Early Childhood Education . Lusaka: Unza press.Rittle-Johnson, B., & Star, J. R. (2007). Does comparing solution methods facilitate conceptual and procedural knowledge? An experimental study on learning to solve equations.  Journal of  Educational Psychology, 99 (3), 561  –  574. Schalock RL, Luckasson RA, Shogren KA, et al (2007). The renaming of mental retardation: understanding the change to the term intellectual disability.  Intellectual and Developmental  Disabilities, 45 ,116-124. Shree, A. and P. C. Shukla, P.C. (2016).  Intellectual Disability: definition, classification, causes and characteristics . New Delhi: New Delhi Publishers.
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