Why Is This Strategy Useful?
Many students with severe and multiple disabilities have difficulty learning the basic arithmetic operations used in everyday life. Research shows that the “touch points” strategy is a viable method for teaching single-digit addition to students with various disabilities. This strategy uses an embedded instructional-prompt approach with numbers containing corresponding touch points or dots to represent the numbers. The numbers 1 through 5 have single touch points or dots. The numbers 6 through 9 use double touch points, which are characterized by dots within circles. Students touch the touch points and double touch points and count aloud to assist with computation. This strategy is appropriate for students with health impairments, learning disabilities, and mild intellectual disabilities. General education students in kindergarten, first, or second grade may benefit from this strategy as well.
Description of Strategy
Instruction should include explicit training, modeling, shaping, and differential reinforcement. Teachers should instruct students to use touch points in the following way. Each number from 1 through 9 has touch points corresponding to the digit’s quantity: Numerals 1 through 5 use single touch points, or dots. Numerals 6 through 9 use double touch points, symbolized by a dot inside of a circle. Students touch single touch points once and double touch points twice, each while counting aloud. By touching the touch points and counting aloud, the teacher engages the visual learner, the auditory learner and the kinesthetic learner. In touch points computations, students always touch the numbers in the touching/counting pattern specified for a particular numeral, as demonstrated here:
The one is touched at the top while counting: "One."
The two is touched at the beginning and the end of the numeral while counting: "One, two."
The three is touched at the beginning, middle and end of the numeral while counting: "One, two, three."
The four is touched and counted from top to bottom on the down strokes while counting: "One, two, three, four."
The five is touched and counted in the sequential order pictured: "One, two, three, four, five." Memory Cue: To help in remembering the fourth touch point, it may be referred to as the "belly button."
The six begins the use of dots with circles. The encircled dots should be touched and counted twice, whenever they appear. Six is touched and counted from top to bottom: "One-two, three-four, five-six." Memory Cue: Touch at the top, middle, bottom.
The seven is also touched and counted top, middle, bottom: "One-two, three-four, five- six," followed by the single dot: "seven." Memory Cue: The single touch point can be thought of as the nose. Teachers sometimes tell young or remedial students to go back and "touch him on the nose" to help them remember the final touch point.