Autism and Long Division

Wednesday is graded papers folder day for BigBrudder. We look through all his work and go over mistakes to make sure he’s getting the concepts taught at school. 10 out of 10 times he’s rushed and made a simple mistake.

His class has been working on division for quite a while, but now they’ve moved on to “long division.” BigBrudder had missed two questions. On the first problem, I neatly wrote it out on large graph paper to give myself a brief refresher course. Okay. Not so brief. But that’s not BigBrudder’s issue. Math is not BigBrudder’s area of expertise…dinosaurs, science, reading: yes. Math. Eh. I think he’s yet to see the utility in long division. So, I began working with him; quickly realizing this May be daddy’s area to help. I was trying to force my way. BigBrudder’s teacher has taught several strategies for division. One of them being a series of boxes, tick marks and some other something that symbolizes a group of numbers. This is BigBrudder’s preferred strategy. Daddy had him rework he problem using his strategy taking his time. He got the correct answer. He then said, “Bubba, explain to me the way your strategy works.”

BigBrudder got a few sheets of his special graph paper, a fresh pencil and ever so patiently went through all the steps, drawing legends for the boxes, tick marks and various symbols. He worked one problem himself and then said, “Okay daddy, now I’m going to write out two problems for you to work on your own. This is your time to shine.”

The next day I walked the boys in to school, and I asked his teachers if this is a phrase they use in class. Each of his teachers assured me that “no, I don’t say that.” Today, his reading teacher said, “I believe that’s coming from within him.” You know what? I do to. It’s his time to shine, and he shines so bright I need sunglasses.


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