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It’s Easy, Let Me Show You

“To provide a customized therapeutic/educational experience to help every child achieve their full potential in life.” So goes the mission statement of the Arbor School of Central Florida, a school that offers a sensory-based curriculum ideal for children with Autism, Down Syndrome, PDD, and other exceptionalities.

Among the 50 students enrolled at the Arbor School is ten-year-old Jonathan. Diagnosed with Autism and having attended the school for several years, Jonathan did not begin to speak until he was nearly five years old. Jonathan is a luminous young man, sharp and capable of extraordinary things, but when presented with math problems, he panics. That is, unless he is using the TouchMath method.

“Jonathan loves math when he uses TouchMath and is very successful,” says Wendy Blair, Director of the Arbor School. “We love the program because it is concrete, giving him the understanding that 4 means 4 things.”

Making that critical connection between numerals and their quantities is of paramount importance to many students who learn differently. For Jonathan, it was that connection that finally provided the basis for understanding math. Having learned math with the TouchPoints, visual cues, and supports provided through TouchMath, Jonathan can easily generalize these skills with a more traditional curriculum. This combination has proven very successful, until one day his parents decided to have him assessed outside of school. Without supports in place, he tested below a kindergarten level and was deemed to have a “mild intellectual disability.” Knowing what Jonathan has accomplished with his math studies, his parents were confused and frustrated. How could this be, when at school Jonathan shines in math class and tests comfortably at grade-level? Wendy was just as perplexed, knowing how Jonathan has excelled with his math facts.

It was about a week later when Wendy noticed another student struggling to work math problems with the TouchPoints missing from the numbers. Jonathan proceeded to sit down with his confused classmate, picked up a pencil and told him "it's easy, let me show you." The same Jonathan who a mere week earlier was diagnosed with “intellectual disabilities” spent 20 minutes working with his new friend going over double-digit addition with regrouping.

“Yes there is video and yes, I shared it with Jonathan’s parents,” proudly exclaims Wendy. “That's why I've used TouchMath for 10 years and will continue to use it.”

Many describe TouchMath as being like training wheels on a bicycle. Providing support for students as they endeavor onto new, sometimes intimidating math roadways. They roll forward feeling safe and sturdy, knowing they can do it. Some children shed the supports as they venture further into fact mastery, and some rely on them just a little further down the road. And as Jonathan would attest –– no matter how children learn, or what their comfort level is with mathematics, TouchMath is there providing correct answers and self-confidence every step of the way.

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