Learning how to count with Cali was quite the process, but because we had an actual program with different levels to help us know how to teach her, the process was made with little stress and with much confidence that with time she would indeed learn how to count. So with that, I started thinking: if this program worked with Cali, then surely it would work for Ava.
Ava started counting out loud to ten about a month ago. Because of this I thought teaching her how to count actual objects (rote counting) might be a good thing. Today we sat down and started the learning process.
I chose to follow the pattern Cali’s therapist had used, with a few changes to meet Ava’s needs. Here is how I began to teach Ava. We will call this level one:
1. Mini marshmallows
2. Smallest sized Dixie cup
3. Piece of paper (used to track successes and failures)
4. Pen (for tracking)
The Process for Level 1:
1. Sit down at a table or some other formal setting to begin exercise.
2. Write on paper: level 1 and date.
3. Place desired amount of marshmallows in a single line on table in front of Ava.
4. I then give Ava a full example of how to count. I say, “Ava, let’s count.” I then point to each marshmallow counting aloud each one.
5. I say again, “Ava, let’s count.” This time I give her a full prompt (take her hand in mine) and point together at each marshmallow counting aloud each one.
6. Track a success or failure. If Ava counts aloud with me on each marshmallow and doesn’t resist, I give her a check mark. If Ava doesn’t count with me during the full prompt or resists my prompt to count, I give her a minus sign.
7. I give Ava at least ten trails.
8. When Ava can master a trial with at least a 90% success rate, we can move on to the next level.
*the next level involves only a slight physical prompt, still counting along with her.
Here is what it looked like:
The goals here is to have Ava independently counting to ten by the fourth level. Stay tuned for each level! And feel free to copy what we do with your own child. I would love to hear how this works for others as well. Or if you have another method that has worked for you, please send your ideas my way!