High-tech devices have incredible potential for enhancing the learning of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In the world of computers, tablets, and smart phones, however, one device has received little attention: it is the calculator. Compared to newer devices, this instrument may seem nearly obsolete. However, mastery of the calculator has the potential to enrich a child’s life both in school and in the community. For example, in school, use of the calculator can aid a child in solving the math word problems offered in the curriculum. With these skills, many of the children can go on to enter mainstream math classes. In the community, mastery of the calculator can enable a child to be proficient in important daily life skills such as shopping (e.g., keeping track of the price of purchases, selecting items to fi t available funds, and calculating the change expected from a cashier). Such skills play a key role in achieving independence in daily life. This program aims to teach children how to recognize, use, and understand the buttons on a calculator. It contains five levels. The first level teaches the child to handle single numbers. Each level becomes progressively more complex so that by Level 5, the children can work with three digit numbers as well as symbols on the calculator such as plus (+), minus (-), and equals (=). Upon completion of this program, the child is ready to move on to applying these new skills to math problems. This program may be implemented by a parent, teacher, therapist, or other adult.
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Dr. Marion Blank is a world-renowned literacy and language expert who developed and served as Co-Director of the Columbia University Developmental Neuropsychiatry Program for Autism and Related Disorders. She is a winner of the Upton Sinclair Award that honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to education. Suzanne Goh, M.D., is a board-certified pediatric neurologist who served as Co-Director of the Columbia University Developmental Neuropsychiatry Program for Autism and Related Disorders. A Rhodes Scholar, she graduated from Harvard University, University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School.
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