Topic Study Group 7:
Activities and programs for students with special needs
B103 and B104 Rooms

List of invited presenters and accpted papers:

Lindenskov, Lena & Vianna, Claudia (2008). How to define special needs and students with special needs in relation to learning mathematics’. Welcome by the Organising team. Danish university School of Education, Aarhus University & Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)

Gervasoni, Ann (2008). Insights About Indentifying and Assisting Children Who Have Difficulty Learning Mathematics. Australian Catholic University, Ballarat.

Kotagiri, Tadato (2008). Theory and Practice of Educational Intervention in the Learning of Numbers and Arithmetic Operations by Special Needs Children. University of the Ryukyus, Japan

Dalvang, Tone (2008). The compass model – a possible tool for dialogue, reasoning and understanding of situations in which learners experience difficulties in their mathematical education. Forum for mastering mathematics at Sørlandet Centre for Special Needs Education, Agder, Norway.

Lange, Troels (2008). Homework and minority students in difficulties with learning mathematics: the influence of public discourse. Aalborg University, Denmark

Vianna, Claudia Segadas– Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ); Barbosa, Paula Marcia – Benjamin Constant Institute (IBC); Rocha, Denise Felippe – Brigadeiro Newton Braga School; Silva, Beatriz – student of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). (2008). Teaching geometry for blind and visually impaired students. Brazil.

Kohanova, Iveta (2008). The ways of teaching mathematics to visually impaired students. Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.

Borges, J. A. – Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, BARBOSA, P. M. – Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; JANSEN, L. R. – Universidade Federal Fluminense,

LYRIO, S. B. – Universidade Estadual de São Paulo. (2008). DESENVOX – computer tools to teach basic geometry and drawing for the visually disabled in Brazil. Brazil.

Vita, Aida C; Henriques, Afonso; Cazorla, Irene M.; Salazar, Jesus V. Flores (2008) Reflections about the use of the soroban with blind students within the Brazilian school system. Santa Cruz National University, Brazil.

Fernandes, Solange Hassan Ahmad Ali; Healy, Lulu; Magalhães, Rodrigues, Guilherme; Rodrigues, Maisa Aparecida Siqueira (2008). Hands that see, hands that talk: Enabling the mathematical practices of blind students and deaf students. Brazil.

Movilio-Chacón, Virginia (2008). Mathematics for Students with Special Educational Needs: Touching and Shaping Mathematics with Deaf Students. Special education school for the deaf, Venezuela.

Mohamed, Madiha Hassan. (2008). The Effectiveness of a suggested Program in Mathematics to develop the visual thinking of deaf pupils in third grade. Beni Suif University, Egypt.

Dowker, Ann. (2008). Individualized interventions for children with arithmetical difficulties. University of Oxford, Great Britain. – Video presentation and PPP.

Pearn, Catherine. (2008). Mathematics Intervention: The importance of building on success. School of Education – The University of Melbourne, Australia.

  • Lena Lindenskov (Denmark)
    The Danish School of Education - Aarhus University
    lenali@dpu.dk
  • Claudia Segadas Vianna (Brazil)
    Federal University Rio de Janeiro
    claudia@im.ufrj.br
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Team members:
  • Petra Scherer (Germany)
    Bielefeld University
    scherer@math.uni-bielefeld.de
  • Ann Gervasoni (Australia)
    Australian Catholic University - Ballarat Campus (Aquinas)
    A.Gervasoni@aquinas.acu.edu.au
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Programme

In TSG 7 the presentations and discussions are structured in the following themes:
TU 8 1200 – 1300Definition of special needs. Identifying students’ needs and early intervention
WE 9 12.00-13.30 The view of minority students. Programmes and activities for visually impaired students
FR 11 12.30 – 13.30 Activities and materials for visually and hearing impaired students.
SA 12.00 – 13.30 Intervention experiences and results

Tuesday 8 1200 – 1300

Theme: Definitions of special needs
Lindenskov, Lena & Vianna, Claudia (2008). How to define special needs and students with special needs in relation to learning mathematics’. Welcome by the Organising team. Danish university School of Education, Aarhus University & Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)
One of the tasks to be done in the TSG 7, according to the international committee, is to discuss and formulate a definition of what is meant by ‘students with special needs in relation to learning mathematics’. An overview is given and critically reflected, and a proposal for a systematic definition is presented to be discussed during the four time slots of TSG 7.

Theme: Identifying students’ needs and early intervention
Gervasoni, Ann (2008). Insights About Identifying and Assisting Children Who Have Difficulty Learning Mathematics. Australian Catholic University, Ballarat.
[ann.gervasoni@acu.edu.au]
This paper explores three issues associated with assisting Australian children who have difficulty learning mathematics in regular classrooms. The first issue is how to identify these children. The second issue is the diverse instructional needs of this group of children who have difficulty. The third issue is providing assistance for children. In this regard, this paper describes one approach used in Australian Primary Schools that is based on providing children with a 20 week intervention program conducted by a specialist teacher.

Kotagiri, Tadato (2008). Theory and Practice of Educational Intervention in the Learning of Numbers and Arithmetic Operations by Special Needs Children. University of the Ryukyus, Japan
[Kotagiri@edu.u-ryukyu.ac.jp]
This is an empirical study of educational intervention for children with learning difficulties regarding numbers and calculations. My research began with such questions as “In what situations and what ways does a child become aware of or discover mathematical ideas?” and “In what situations and what ways does his/her mathematical cognition develop?” To answer these questions, a hypothesis has been made: There can be a way or a set of steps to obtain mathematical concepts and skills. Based on this hypothesis, a remedial form of education has been carried out for children with serious difficulties in learning numbers and calculations. The results of educational intervention suggest answering the hypothesis positively.
This study has focused on the skill acquisition phase of the practical education process by the Suido Method, specifically on the cognitive modes, e.g. on real world conditions, concrete pictures, schematic figures, and mathematical symbols. I call them “Real World,” “World of Models,” “World of Schemas,” and “Mathematical World”, respectively. The hypothesis is that we can set the steps for acquisition of numerical concepts and arithmetic skills. I then have conducted remedial education for children who experience severe difficulties with acquiring basic mathematical skills, continuously observing their aptitude for basic mathematical skills over a period of several years (Kotagiri 1993, 1999, 2002). The children being studied in this research are considered slow learners, developmentally disabled children including those with global-type learning disabilities, children who have suffered physical brain damage due to high fever and/or cardiac arrest stemming from meningitis, hydrocephalus, etc., and children afflicted by mental disabilities such as mentally retarded children or those with Down syndrome. One can consider that the above hypothesis has been validated or is in the process of being validated. Of course, many children with special needs may be afflicted by a wide range of disabilities, and I am aware that they may not all be covered.

Dalvang, Tone (2008). The compass model – a possible tool for dialogue, reasoning and understanding of situations in which learners experience difficulties in their mathematical education. Forum for mastering mathematics at Sørlandet Centre for Special Needs Education, Agder, Norway.
The presentation has four parts: An introduction about the official Norwegian support system in special needs education, and a case concerning a 12 year-old girl presented with learning difficulties in mathematics. The compass model is then applied as a tool for dialogue and reasoning about the present situation, and to make plans for future interventions. In the end purposes of the model are discussed.

Plenary discussion and reflections.

Wednesday 9 12.00-13.30

Theme: The view of minority students.
Lange, Troels (2008). Homework and minority students in difficulties with learning mathematics: the influence of public discourse. Aalborg University, Denmark
In this paper, I contrast an immigrant 10 year old girl’s perception of her home support and her mathematics teacher’s rather different perception. According to the girl, her big sister who is in Year-10 helps her with her homework in mathematics. However, the teacher believes that she has no support from home. I show how the girl tries to align her perception of her home support with middle class Danish family values, and how the public discourse about immigrants apparently frames the teacher’s perception of the resources that are available or not available to the girl. The analysis becomes an example of how mathematics teaching and learning is embedded in a wider socio-political field. On one hand, the analysis illustrates that the family resources called upon by homework are very differentially available to children with different backgrounds. On the other hand, it suggests that sometimes resources could be available that schools do not see because students are constructed as disadvantaged.

Theme: Programmes and activities for visually impaired students.
Vianna, Claudia Segadas– Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ); Barbosa, Paula Marcia – Benjamin Constant Institute (IBC); Rocha, Denise Felippe – Brigadeiro Newton Braga School; Silva, Beatriz – student of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). (2008). Teaching geometry for blind and visually impaired students. Brazil.
This research is concerned with the difficulties that blind and visually impaired students face to construct some concepts in geometry and how we can help them to develop these concepts. The focus will be on the teaching of symmetry. Activities were designed and used with lower secondary students from a specialized school for the blind and visually impaired students in Rio de Janeiro – Brazil (Benjamin Constant Institute). Twelve students took part in this research, six were blind and six had low vision, ages varying from twelve to eighteen years old. The same activities were used to a blind student included in a regular school in Rio de Janeiro (Brigadeiro Newton Braga School)
This paper describes these activities and students’ reactions to them. The results show how important the previous preparation of materials is in order to help these students to focus on the contents themselves and not in making or understanding drawings.

Kohanova, Iveta (2008). The ways of teaching mathematics to visually impaired students. Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.
In this paper we present overview of actual situation of teaching mathematics to visually impaired students at each level of education (primary, secondary, university) in Slovakia. Problem of accessibility of mathematics to visually impaired students has the solution in linear notation. One of the possibilities to access math is the Lambda editor, which besides the linear notation in Lambda code offers also the graphic visualization for sighted people. Hence in the second part we briefly describe the effort to integrate Lambda editor in to the teaching and study of mathematics, which is an initiative of Support Centre for Visually Impaired Students.The Lambda editor is considered as tool within the material milieu of didactical situation.

Borges, J. A. – Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, BARBOSA, P. M. – Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; JANSEN, L. R. – Universidade Federal Fluminense, LYRIO, S. B. – Universidade Estadual de São Paulo. (2008). DESENVOX – computer tools to teach basic geometry and drawing for the visually disabled in Brazil. Brazil.
This paper shows that computer technology is able to assist people who are visually disabled to access and communicate about geometrical information. A computer program, DESENVOX, that allows that blind students can create, edit and print tactile graphics is discussed. It is also shown that for geometrical knowledge to be constructed – which includes the ability to use this computer tool – the students first need some physical experiences with 3D models and Geoboards.

Plenary discussion and reflections.

Friday 11 12.30 – 13.30

Theme: Activities and materials for visually and hearing impaired students.
Vita, Aida C; Henriques, Afonso; Cazorla, Irene M.; Salazar, Jesus V. Flores (2008) Reflections about the use of the soroban with blind students within the Brazilian school system. Santa Cruz National University, Brazil.
In Brazil, the Decree number 1.010 from Ministry of Education instituted Soroban as a calculator tool for visual disability, but its use in primary, secondary and high school teaching is so far to being reality. This paper intends to reflect about this process and from the idea that Soroban can contribute in the learning of Decimal Numerical System-DNS and the four Mathematic Basic operations, not only for blind people, but for every one. In order to understand Soroban utilization as mediation tool for learning we took Rabardel’s instrumentation approach. We hope to raise some research questions and acting strategies witch can contribute in Soroban’s use institutionalization for primary, secondary and high school.
Key-words: Special Education, blind students, Soroban, Basic Mathematical Operations.

Movilio-Chacón, Virginia (2008). Mathematics for Students with Special Educational Needs: Touching and Shaping Mathematics with Deaf Students. Special education school for the deaf, Venezuela.
Deaf people can come to be understood not as a disability group but as the possessors and protectors of a great cultural heritage, a beautiful language, numerous art forms and an eloquent history. Harlan Lane, 2003
Just before the sixties, W. Stokoe commented with his colleagues at Gaulladet College on the possibility of the existence of a signed language used by deaf students. At the time, this idea was unacceptable to many deaf educators in the United States. According to his personal experience, the deaf students were using routinely a language, which was structurally different from English.
As a result of these observations, in 1960 he published an article titled “Sign Language Structure” and in 1965, with the help of two deaf colleagues, the first dictionary of American Sign Language (ASL) (Stokoe, 2004).
In Venezuela the education of the deaf and hard of hearing is done within a bilingual context. The deaf must acquire sign language at the earliest possible time as a first language then afterwards learn how to use written Spanish in order to guarantee their integration into the subsequent educational levels (Oviedo, 2000).
Venezuelan Sign Language and, in general, Spanish-American sign languages, have very few signs for mathematical concepts, terms and procedures (Larreal, 2006), so that frequently teachers must create or coin specific signs in order to teach Mathematics to Deaf students.
In this paper, we present some experiences in the creation of approximately 250 signs for mathematics. The experience began in 2003 with high school students whose ages ranged from 13 to 26 years, and was developed within the framework of constructivist learning principles at the special education school for the deaf at Maturín, Monagas, in eastern Venezuela. The creation process is developed during class with the help of the math teacher who is also a sign language interpreter. When there is a lack of signs in the mathematical subject studied, new signs are coined in a collaborative process with the active participation of the Deaf students.

Madiha, Hassan Mohamed. (2008). The Effectiveness of a suggested Program in Mathematics to develop the visual thinking of deaf pupils in third grade. Beni Suif University, Egypt.
The present research aims at designing a suggested program in mathematics to develop the visual thinking of deaf pupils. The research reviews theoretical studies, develops a Pilot Program, carry out a pilot study for this program on a small sample of deaf pupils, and then modify the program. The effectiveness of this program is measured after applying the program with third grade pupils on elementary stage. This program consists of 69 visual activities related to the basic mathematical concepts, which the deaf pupils are studying in third grade. The quantitative analysis of the results of the program shows the effectiveness of the program to develop the visual thinking for the sample of the deaf pupils. The results also indicated that there are no significant differences between males and females in their visual thinking after the implementation of the program. On the background of the pilot program recommendations are made for programs and textbooks in Egypt.

Plenary discussion and reflections.

Saturday 12 12.00 – 13.30

Theme: Intervention experiences and results
Dowker, Ann. (2008). Individualized interventions for children with arithmetical difficulties. University of Oxford, Great Britain.
This talk will discuss findings with regard to the incidence of mathematical difficulties; and their common characteristics. It will discuss the important fact that arithmetical ability is not a single entity, but is made up of many components; and therefore arithmetical difficulties are varied and heterogenous. It will discuss their relationships to other abilities: i.e. general cognitive abilities, language, reading and spatial abilities. It will then discuss some of the methods of intervention that have been used over the years,with a focus on individualized interventions, that target children’s specific strengths and weaknesses. Some forms of individualized, component-based techniques of assessing and remediating mathematical difficulties have been in existence for over 60 years (e.g. Buswell and John, 1927; Williams and Whitaker, 1937; Tilton, 1947). However, they have not been in frequent use until recently. Recent programs such as Wright et al’s (2000) Mathematics Recovery program will be discussed, and the talk will conclude with a discussion of my Numeracy Recovery program, now undergoing further development as Catch Up in Numeracy.

Pearn, Catherine. (2008). Mathematics Intervention: The importance of building on success. School of Education – The University of Melbourne, Australia.
An Australian national plan requires education authorities to support teachers to identify students not achieving adequate literacy and numeracy skills and to provide early intervention for these students. One such intervention program, Mathematics Intervention, aims to identify and assist, students in Year 1 at risk of not coping with the mathematics curriculum. The program incorporates mathematical activities and strategies based on recent research about student’s early arithmetical learning (Steffe, von Glasersfeld, Richards & Cobb, 1983; Wright, 1991) and about the types of strategies used by students to demonstrate their mathematical knowledge (Gray & Tall, 1994). Mathematics Intervention features elements of both Reading Recovery (Clay, 1987) and Mathematics Recovery (Wright, 1991) and offers students the chance to experience success in mathematics by developing the basic concepts of number upon which they build their understanding of mathematics. The author continues to refine the assessment instruments designed to identify students mathematically “at risk” and support attempts to provide the most appropriate programs for students mathematically ‘at risk’.

Plenary discussion and reflections: What did we achieve? Which next steps are relevant?

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Aims, Scope and Goals

Activities and programs for students with special needs

The topic in TSG 7 is of growing importance as skills, knowledge, sense-making, and competences which include mathematics have been seen as relevant for all people. Furthermore policies in several countries stress that all children should be offered opportunities to engage in mathematics in broad and rich ways. Fortunately, more emphasis is at the same time put on the topic both in different kinds of educational practice and in different branches of research as well. Moreover, reviews and edited books are produced more frequently than before, with contributions from mathematics educators as well as from other sorts of professionals.
Still a lot of issues are unsolved, and still the awareness towards the topic lies far behind similar awareness regarding reading and literacy. The topic cries for focused exchange of ideas, viewpoints, and experiences, and for common discussion and reflection on questions like:

1.How are special needs in mathematics defined and delimited from other phenomena?

2.What are the characteristics of students with special needs in mathematics and how can such students be identified?

3.What kinds of early identification exist around the world and with which means?

4.What kinds of intervention projects take place around the world and with which means

5.Which activities seem to give promising results, and which do not?

6.Which kinds of programs are offered: mathematics content and organization for which groups of students by which groups of teachers?

7.How can you support maintaining and developing students’ creativity and optimistic attitudes towards mathematics learning in students with special needs?

8.Which identifications, activities and programs for adolescent and adult students with special needs exist and with which results?

9.Which are the available, high quality reviews and edited books to be recommended?

10.With which kinds of theoretical positions are background and characteristics of special needs in mathematics approached, as for instance from psychology, neuro-biology, sociology, and education?

11.How are the qualifications and competences of people working in research and practice?

12.Which voices are being heard in practice and in research on students with special needs?

The Organizing Team of TSG 7 is in close contact with the TSG 6: Activities and programs for gifted students in order to possible exchange viewpoints on the concept of creativity for gifted and special needs students.

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Abstracts and papers requirements

The Organizing Team of TSG 7 was inviting the submission of papers for presentation and distribution at ICME-11. The TSG has been allocated four sessions during the conference. The sessions will include invited speakers and papers selected through the submission procedures described here.

Papers may be proposed for two formats: • oral presentation; • presentation-by-distribution in the TSG, without an oral presentation but with a time slot for discussion. For either format, proposals include an abstract (up to 1,000 words plus references), which have been read by the referees. Abstracts reporting research findings should contain a description of the aim of the presentation, background, methods, results, and conclusions. Abstracts reporting theoretical analyses should state clearly why the issue is important, what evidence supports the claims made, and what the implications are for students with special needs in mathematics. Abstracts reporting activities and programs should describe these clearly and concisely and provide some evidence to show that these have been successfully implemented and what kinds of outcome have been documented. Authors should indicate for which format the paper is proposed: • oral presentation; • presentation-by-distribution in the TSG. When making this choice, authors should consider which medium is best for their presentation. Many of us do not have English as a first language and feel more comfortable with a written than an oral presentation.

Authors of accepted abstracts proposals have been invited to submit full papers (length 4 to 12 pages).

Those who submitted abstracts and papers have been required to fill in and send a form with their data and specific interests and experiences by clicking at
http://www.inquisiteasp.dk/cgi-bin/qwebcorporate.cgi?idx=VR6K5H

The closing date for abstracts was March 15st, 2008 sent to Lena Lindenskov and Claudia Segadas Vianna (lenali@dpu.dk and claudia@im.ufrj.br)

Deadline for decision was April the 8th.

Deadline for full paper (of a length between 4 and 12 pages) was May the 2nd.

After reviewing and adaptations all the accepted papers are made available here on the TSG 7 website. Also one paper is accepted for distribution of paper copies.

The list of invited speakers with their titles and the detailed program for the two one-hour and two ninety-minute sessions in the congress timetable at the disposal of TSG 7 is also avaiable here at the website.

Looking forward meeting you in Monterrey,
Lena Lindenskov and Claudia Segadas Vianna

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