If you have a young child with Down syndrome or autism or any other special cognitive need, you have probably heard the term “1:1 correspondence,” but what exactly is it and why is it so important?
1:1 correspondence is simply “the ability to match each member of one set to the member of an equal set.”
Usually when we think of 1:1 correspondence, we are only thinking of matching one of something to one of something else, but this concept also includes matching two of one thing to two of another thing, or three, or four, or five, or a hundred (and on and on and on).
We don’t hear about 1:1 correspondence skills with typically developing children, because we focus on having those children match objects to numbers. We can usually skip right over 1:1 correspondance with them and move on to numbers.
I think my son, Noah, who is 5 and has Down syndrome can do just about anything, but he needs everything broken down into very small steps. For counting, 1:1 correspondence are those baby steps. If I show him a number 2 and tell him to give me two of something, all he sees is a symbol for an abstract concept, and he can’t do it YET. If I show him two cups and ask for two flowers for my two cups, he can mentally track that he needs one for each cup and gradually he puts together that 2 means one thing next to one other thing. Ah, a mathematician is born.
In researching how to share this information eloquently (I hope), I came across a website called www.highreach.com. The quoted information for this came from http://www.highreach.com/highreach_cms/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=bSLAN72jJrQ%3D&tabid=106. If you’re working with 1:1 correspondence with your children, please read the article in its entirety as it is full of great ideas for teaching this skill and building on it. I’ll be sharing more about this resource in the days to come, and hope you all will find it as useful as I have.