Tag Archives: Learning Disabilities

Money Talks – Coin Discrimination Task for Beginners

I’m loving doing a letter a week for Noah.  Coming up with fresh activities that match the alphabet letter we are on keeps my mind buzzing.  The only problem is all that searching for activities is cutting into my blogging time, so I’m doing new activities with Noah faster than I can blog about them.  This week’s letter is B, but last week’s M-money exercise was so successful, I’ve just gotta share.   Don’t our children just love getting their hands on the things they see their parents use every day, like money?  (With the booming popularity of plastic, I’m sure I’ll have to come up with a worksheet to distinguish American Express from Discover cards, but let’s save that for another day.)  🙂

By the way, being able to identify money is an important life skill for all of our children, and one certainly attainable by most children with autism, Down syndrome and other learning disabilities or challenges.

I whipped up this printable coin worksheet for Noah:

One of the things I’ve noticed with Noah is that he does not have the tolerance to do the same activity for very long, especially when it comes to preschool.  While I might expect Bella to match ten different coins at a sitting, my expectations for Noah are for him to match only five.  It’s still enough to demonstrate mastery, but it allows him to start a goal and reach that goal in a short amount of time.   With Bella, this coin matching activity is something I will do only once in a day with 10 coins to a page, but with Noah, I may do it once in the morning and once in the afternoon with five coins to a page.   So his goal is not necessarily different (the goal being to match 10 coins to 10 coins), it is just reached in a different manner (in two shorter sessions versus one longer session).

Activity:  Money Matching


  1. Money Matching printable (click on above graphic)
  2. Three quarters, two pennies

Vocabulary:  Money, match, same, different, quarter, dime, silver, brown, big, little, circle.


  1. Show your child the money and let him hold it.   Use the vocabulary listed above to describe the different coins.
  2. Take away the pennies, leaving your child with the quarters.
  3. Point to a quarter on the printable, and use this script or come up with your own:

“Put quarter on quarter.”

(Child complies.)

“Good.  You put quarter on quarter.  “Quarter”(move quarter slightly off the quarter on the page and point at the actual quarter and the printable quarter), “Quarter, same.”

(Repeat for the other two quarters.)

4.  Repeat the process with the pennies.

5.  When all the coins on the printable are covered correctly, review by having your child point to each coin (using hand-over-hand assistance if necessary), and say with you (if he is able, otherwise say it for him), whether it is a quarter or a penny.  For example, “Quarter, penny, penny, quarter, quarter.”

A Step Up:  If your child is still on board, now place all the coins in front of your child and have him match each physical coin to each printable coin independently, offering gentle correction in the form of questions like “Wait a minute, is THAT a QUARTER?” when necessary.  When your child is finished, have him point to each coin and name it as either a penny or a quarter.

Here’s the harder printable worksheet with 10 coins I use for Bella:







A Little Word Play and a Lot of Giggles

In my unbiased opinion, Noah is pretty brilliant.

But I have to tell you, lately he’s been even more brilliant than usual.  He’s starting to play with language.  That’s a big deal.  It means he is understanding enough to know when a word doesn’t really belong.

For instance, tonight we were at the track.  I pointed out the moon and the stars.  He didn’t want to sign moon and stars.  He wanted to sign helicopter.  So here I am signing moon and stars, and Noah is signing helicopter.  Why helicopter?  Because we look up in the sky to see a helicopter, just like we look up into the sky to see the moon and stars.  So how do I know he was playing with words and not just confused.  Because he was laughing, absolutely cracking himself up.

He gets that from me.

A Week of a’s – Thursday

We had such a good day today!!!  Noah has been a bit resistant lately when it comes to school, which is such a shame because homeschool preschool is so fun, fun, fun!!!  (Okay, at least it is for me.)  This morning we went into the front room and I asked him to find the painters tape “a” we’ve had on the floor all week.  (It was covered up by a small rug.)  So, at my prompt to “find the ‘a’,” he found it.  That’s huge because we’ve been doing other activities that require him to find the “a”,  so we reinforced what we’ve been practicing.

Next I had him walk the “a” toe-heel for a little gross motor practice.  He was still on board at that point.

It was when I pulled out the Kaufman cards that I lost him.  He did the first two and then started squeezing his eyes shut so he couldn’t see the card.  Yes, I got a picture, but I’m not going to post it because the way he was screwing up his face was pretty yucky looking.  All right, folks, I’m starting to see what you’re talking about when you say your children with Down syndrome are not the angels everyone seems to think they are.  When he wasn’t squeezing his eyes shut, he was reaching for a box of play food and trying to put the food on the masking tape “a.”  “Anything but Kaufman cards,” he seemed to say.  Hmmmm.  I wanted him to do cards, he wanted to put things on the “a.”   So we combined the two and this is what we got:  When Noah practiced saying the word on the card, Noah got to put a food item on the “a.”  Please, please don’t tell him that I was delighted he was practicing putting things on the “a.”  We got through the whole deck – woo hoo!!!

Our other point of victory today came when we pulled out the Find the “a”s worksheets from yesterday’s post.   Directions for that activity are here:  https://wordsofhisheart.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/a-week-of-as-wednesday/.  A little history might be helpful.  Yesterday morning I gave Noah a worksheet that had a’s and f’s on it.  I wanted him to dot the a’s with the bingo dauber.  He dotted the a’s and the f’s because he wasn’t distinguishing between the two.  In his mind it was on the page so it needed to be dotted.  That’s why I changed the worksheets into a slow progression of this skill.  Yesterday afternoon I had him do the first and second page.  This morning I had him do the third and the fourth.  By the fourth page we were back up to f’s and a’s and Noah correctly dotted all the a’s and none of the f’s.

This is a good reminder to me that just because Noah fails at a task, it doesn’t mean he is unable to accomplish it.  He needs more help than other children, but he is able to accomplish quite a bit once he’s been given that help.  He needs little baby steps to climb that hill, while other children can scale it in a leap or two.  This is hopeful and overwhelming to me all at the same time.  My mind is ever busy thinking of what those little baby steps need to look like.

Today’s printable  A activity is brought to you by the great folks over at http://homeschoolcreations.com/preschoolalphabet.html.   I was able to download a whole set of alphabet Playdough mats by clicking on the “ABC Playdough” mats box on their page.  All I had to do was print them off, laminate them, and provide the Playdough.  Noah did the rest.  He really seemed to “get” this.  I just love it when that happens!