Teaching Children with Autism – Thinking
In an earlier posting (November 26, 2015), I referred to Relational Frame Theory (RFT), which offers a way of approaching the issue of how to teach thinking as opposed to just remembering items of information. I am returning to it now because the question has been raised as to whether rote learning interferes with later thinking, i.e., using to use what has been learned. Personally, I don’t think that it does. On the other hand, neither does rote learning guarantee that the learner will be able to use what has been learned. I theory, RFT addresses that problem.
When I first got my iPad, because so many of the children whiose IBI programs I was supervising had iPads, I set out to acquire apps that might be used to teach these children with autism – some 400 or so apps by the time that I started to slow down. Sorting them into categories, I ended up with several that I had labelled “Advanced Thinking.” They include an app called Creative Genius (What if? scenarios and Imagine That! challenges) and apps related to Reading Comprehension (Inference Clues). There is an app called Pragmatics that poses questions related to problem solving (You’re at home and you smell smoke. What will you do?), feelings (If your dog ran away, how would you feel?), giving information (Tell how to make a sandwich), requesting information (Your friend fell off her bike. What do you ask?) and so on. There is another one that explores riddles. Well, you get the idea. Thinking can be taught, just the same as anything else.