At Drumbeat school the learning of mathematical concepts is considered central to children and young people’s ability to understand and make sense of the world around them and to support independence in future life.
We believe that enabling students to achieve basic skills in maths, and helping them learn how to apply these skills, can have a real and tangible impact on the quality of their current and future lives.
Drumbeat school acknowledges that mathematics in its early stages is essentially a visual and concrete skill but the development and application of mathematics is dependent on the use of language. We therefore strive to build upon the strengths in visual memory that many children and young people with autism have and we work to help them overcome the barriers in mathematical understanding that can arise from difficulties in the development of language skills.
In the early stages of mathematics pupils concrete and visual learning style and their ability to attend to detail can aid with the recognition of patterns and can lead to a facility to work with numbers. However, such a concrete learning style can lead to difficulties with the generalisation of these concepts and the ability to use and apply them in a variety of situations, particularly social settings.
The focus of our curriculum, therefore, is to make use of these concrete learning styles to teach and practice mathematical skills and to work to then apply such skills to a variety of practical situations in a meaningful context for the pupil.
At Drumbeat school the learning of mathematics offers pupils with ASD the opportunity to:
- Develop their awareness of the world around them. Recognise similarities and differences in objects in their quantitative, shape and size.
- Use this developing understanding of shape, space and number to develop problem solving skills and gain appropriate control of their environment.
- Learn and apply mathematical concepts throughout the school day and in social situations, such as; sharing, cooking and shopping.
- Develop a range of thinking skills to help the child or young person to broaden their knowledge and understanding of the world around them.
- Generalise the concrete skills they have learned and apply these in a meaningful way to a variety of situations.
The wide range of needs, strengths and interests of the pupils at Drumbeat is such that we use individualised approaches to planning, teaching and target setting in order to make the learning of mathematics functional, meaningful and exciting for every pupil. To enhance this we use multi-sensory approaches in discrete maths lessons and across the whole school day. As well as offering real life and fun opportunities to learn this in turn is aimed at meeting the sensory needs of our pupils by giving opportunities for hands on learning and movement opportunities throughout lessons.
The majority of our pupil population will be working significantly below the age expected levels nationally and may require time to make progress through the early stages of the national curriculum. However, our curriculum is progressive throughout each phase to ensure that students are working on age appropriate tasks and that teaching and learning activities demonstrate a variety of relevant learning opportunities. Whilst learning is not always easy for our pupils we have high expectations of their mathematical abilities and ensure that tasks are challenging. We offer every opportunity for our pupils to achieve accreditation in their mathematical learning. Currently pupils in our year 10 and 11 are working towards AQA unit and entry levels awards.
The development and application of mathematical skills is relevant and is addressed across the whole of our curriculum in a variety of contexts and approaches. This is shown in our long term planning where generalisation opportunities and activity ideas are added to enhance the application of mathematical skills. We use evidenced based approaches, such as TEACCH and attention autism that build upon the strengths of our pupils including visual memory and attention to detail. Such approaches are designed to recognise pupil’s needs across the triad of impairment and to overcome potential barriers to their learning.
Our goal at Drumbeat school is to build upon student’s individual strengths, needs and interests to make the learning of mathematics a practical, relevant and exciting experience.