If you have a first- or second-grader, chances are you'll be teaching them how to put sets of words in alphabetical order. This is a difficult concept to teach a child with Down syndrome who doesn't do well with analytic work. As much as I try to explain it to her, she doesn't truly comprehend until she sees it and practices it repeatedly. Trying to place words in ABC order can be confusing and tedious for Samantha. We've tried several times in the last few years with different manipulatives and worksheets, but she was just not ready. I'm hoping this year will be the year she finally understands it. We're starting slowly and using games that are engaging and fun for her. I don't want to exasperate or frustrate her.
Oftentimes a visual-spatial learner doesn't do well with continual practice and repetition. In Samantha's case, however, she needs repetition as well as manipulatives and pictures. I'm using vocabulary words from the books we're reading this month and from her Language Arts and science activities. So these are words that are familiar to her or that she is learning. I've created lists of these vocabulary words and added the alphabet at the top each sheet to help her see the order of the letters in the alphabet. I highlight the first letter of each word and highlight the same letters on the alphabet line at the top of the page. I'm finding this is really helpful for her in placing the words in the right order. Next week I'll have her highlight the letters herself. Eventually we'll move on to the second and third letters of the words, but I know we'll be practicing first letters for a while. This is where the hourglass learning comes in. Small steps. We'll get there, if we persevere.