Teaching Basic Number Skills to Adults with Disabilities

Being able to count, to add and subtract and multiply, these are basic skills that we learn in elementary school. For people with certain disabilities, however, they may be difficult to master. As number skills are vital in daily life for budgeting, shopping and other essentials, incorporating numeracy into life skills activities for adults with disabilities is very important.

What are Life Skills Activities for Adults with Disabilities?

Life skills activities could include the kind of exercise that can help a person with disabilities gain independence and improve their overall quality of life. These activities may cover independent living skills such as cooking and cleaning, social skills and self-regulation to help interaction with others, or foundational academic skills such as literacy and numeracy. All of these things are necessary if the student is to achieve a happy and fulfilling life with a reasonable degree of independence.

Teaching Basic Number Skills

There are a range of problems that may face an adult with disabilities when they want to study number skills. To begin with, numeracy and math often come with an ominous aura where they are widely perceived as difficult, even by people without disabilities. Perception and previous struggles at school can lead to adult students approaching numeracy classes with a tentative attitude before they even begin.

This means that one of the first tasks facing a teacher is to find ways to make their lessons fun, and to break down concepts into appropriately simple forms so students have the best chance of understanding. Use of pictures, colours and shapes, or the utilization of technology help bring a different perspective. Everyone is going to have different preferences and learning styles.

It is also important to show how number skills are relevant by linking them to concepts and activities in the student’s daily life. This can help them realize why what they are learning is important and increase their enthusiasm. Show them how they can use their number skills at home, when out shopping or how they might be relevant in the workplace. Rehearsing real life situations is a valuable way to prepare to apply these skills outside of the learning environment.

Students also need lots of positive reinforcement for encouragement. Launch rewards even a small amount of progress with a plethora of options: verbal or written comments, certificates, Class Dojo, treats or even pizza parties. This requires a deep understanding of students so as to know what kind of reinforcement is most appropriate. Brighton Launch staff are highly trained and skilled at this. Launch students are adults and are never patronized or treated as children.

Attention is also paid to the entire Brighton Launch learning environment. Students feel comfortable and safe. Small groups allow for more focused teaching and can reduce stress. This also benefits the building of social skills. Simple things like the type of seating or the regularity of breaks have a positive impact.

When done properly, the teaching of number skills among life skills activities for adults with disabilities will not just improve their ability to do math, but also boost their self-confidence and prepare them to apply their skills in real life situations.

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