Saturday, January 30, 2010

Update on learning math

I wrote about my son's difficulty understand the language of math. I changed his service from a note taker to pull out pre teaching and wow what a difference! Here is a brief update.

I noticed this simple change was facilitated by input from Deaf adults, my sister and the staff. It took dialogue with his with his interpreter and teacher . It really helped to get comments on the original post and input from Deaf teacher friends. The problem was we were trying to fix things by adding more ineffective support and not really addressing the problem. My sister is a college professor and shares the same learning style as my son so she was big help offering ideas on how to teach concepts in a way that would work for him.

Before the change the teacher was stopping class to ask if he understood and asking other students to tap him when he needed to look up. They didn't ask him first if he wanted this so of course he was offended. He hated the note taking because it was just pages of numbers.

So he had his first real pull out last week. He was so excited! He told me everything in class was so clear for the first time. He loves taking his own notes. Here is what it looks like,

Twice a week he is pulled for 15 minutes at the start of the day. A teacher shows him the broad concepts of what he will be learning in math and science. Vocabulary is isolated that is new and he comes up with the signs for the words or concepts with the help of his interpreter. So by the end of the day when he enters class he has a foundation to work with. He can connect the written and signed language. The teacher is slowing down class to allow time for him to take his own notes so he internalizes the information and practices concepts. So far it is working great. There may be some glitches to iron out but it is a 100% improvement from the traditional model of note taker and tutoring after the class. It took his math IEP minutes down from 100 a week to 30.


  1. Sounds like you have a very good team working with your son. I am glad it is working out well for your son. This gives me something to think about next time I am at an IEP meeting. This would be something I could suggest for some of my students.


  2. awesome! now if only all deaf kids were presented opportunities to enhance their learning experiences simply by creative thinking.

  3. Keri! Your input was so awesome. It helped us all think about how we help him create and understand the signs used, no more LCD! Thank you so much! I may still beg fo help later .....

    (e we have a great team. I feel so grateful but also know that it is his right to access his education. It is a strange balance.

    If your kids are with interpreters I would recomend this approach. I feel guilty I didn't figure it out sooner. If a teacher suggests it the road is easier. We are still in the beginning phase but I have high hopes. I will update with ant changes.