Eric.ed.gov – Perspectives on Education from a Person on the Autism Spectrum

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The author is an associate professor of animal studies at Colorado State University, but experienced learning difficulties in high school due to her place on the autism-Asperger’s spectrum. She had uneven skills, and while algebra was impossible, she did well in courses in which she could use her visual-thinking and associative-thinking skills. Her visual thinking skills enabled her to excel at her chosen career of designing livestock equipment. The author describes how visual thinkers like her are good at hands-on work. While she finds mathematical word problems to be difficult, she can conceptualize research experiments only if she has a concrete example such as a weight gain and different breeds of cattle. She cannot think about experimental designs in the abstract. Her success in her career ensued not because she “overcame a math deficit,” but because she developed her area of strength — visualization. There are three basic thinking types: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, and word specialists, and these thinking styles also occur in individuals with dyslexia, ADHD, and other learning problems. An autism researcher found that autistic children have difficulty making up new categories for objects. However, flexibility of thinking can be taught. The author expresses concern when courses in music, woodshop, auto mechanics, and elective classes are no longer offered because these are the types of courses in which many students with uneven skills will excel and make themselves employable in good jobs. One size does not fit all, and different people have different types of thinking. The really good teachers try different methods and use the one that works for a particular child.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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