Numerical abilities in preschool children with atypical development: a developmental description
Barbosa, Heloiza Helena de Jesus
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The present study investigated the atypically developing preschool children's numerical abilities in a variety of tasks. The microgenetic methodology was employed in this study in order to capture the change and variability of the participants' numerical abilities. First, it used a matching task to investigate the participants' ability to recognize equivalence in sets composed of high and low similarity items. Second, the abilities involved in counting, calculation, and production of a given numerical set was studied through different task, such as: Board Game, Give-A-Number, and Calculation. The results indicated that while atypically developing children are able to recognize equivalence by the age of 4 Y2 years in sets of high and low similarity, this ability is not generalized to all kind of contexts yet. Instead, participants did better in a context that provides perceptual and conceptual support. In addition, the results from counting, calculation, and production of a set revealed that there is a gradual development of these numerical abilities, which are initially isolated and context dependent and later become more integrated. The results also suggest that the learning of mathematics involves the interrelation of procedural and conceptual knowledge. Furthermore, participants showed different profiles of understanding according to their individual differences. In order to create effective educational programs and to assess mathematical di fficulties in children developing atypically, researcher and teachers need to collect information about the factors that might influence the development of mathematical abilities. This study contributed to the growth ofthis knowledge.
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