One of my inspirations for building "Counting Together" was because of the severe brain injury my brother suffered 11 years ago. While spending hours and hours with him at the Moss Rehab Center in Pennsylvania, I wish I had an app like "Counting Together" to engage with him. All of the information was buried in his brain, but we needed a fun way to unlock it and practice basic math and memory tasks.
"Counting Together", with tantalizing 3-D graphics and fun sounds, is an easy way to practice the basic math skills of addition and "Subitizing". WHAT IS "SUBITIZING"?
It is the ability to recognize a certain number of objects without counting. For example, you may look at a table and instantly see 4 chairs surrounding the table. But a person with a brain injury may not be able to do this. "Counting Together" may help rebuild the skills
they once had.
To help build confidence, we created different levels of difficulty to allow the player to start with simple 1 through 10 numbers and then advance to 1 through 20. And, we monitor how the player is performing and automatically adjust the difficulty of play and the time allowed to answer. There are also different game modes where we can play together as a group, both trying to get the correct answer, and our performance depends on each other. Or another Compete mode, where the first player to get the answer, gets the point.Dennis Waldman
Intuitively and from initial discussions with Researchers, Schools, and Centers, we expect "Counting Together" to be a useful asset in helping people with special needs. Please remember that Counting Together is new as of December 2012 and these evaluations are ongoing and we will report their findings as they become available.
There are many reports and articles on the internet to support the relationship between special needs and mind challenging games, subitizing, and visual math stimulus. Here are a few that you may find of interest:
"…Large proportions of children with problems in acquiring basic arithmetic skills exhibit developmental deficits in the correctness and speed of this special visual capacity….
….Difficulties in acquiring basic skills in reading and spelling (dyslexia) are often accompanied by deficits in saccade control (Biscaldi et al., 2000) and/or in low level auditory discrimination (Fischer et al., 2004). Improving the perceptual deficits by daily practice leads to improvements of reading (Fischer and Hartnegg, 2004) spelling (Schäffler et al., 2004)….
…The first study tests the possibility that subitizing and counting can be improved by daily practice….
…The analysis of the pre-post training data revealed that subitizing and counting were significantly improved. About 85% of the subjects on average were able to improve both variables determining the quality of task performance: they reached the normal range of the control subjects (N=133) of the same age.
The second study shows, that basic arithmetic skills were significantly improved in a trained as compared to an untrained control group….."
"A common response to students who are having counting problems is to simply have them do daily counting practice; however, students with counting and comparing difficulties also benefit from practice that utilizes patterns and relationships. These strategies improve their ability to conceptualize and compare numbers without counting. Data in a study of dyslexic students who had difficulty with basic arithmetic skills (Fischer B., Kongeter A., Hartnegg K., 2008) showed that dyslexic children could also improve subitizing and visual counting through daily practice…"
"….the deficits in the basic visual capacity of subitizing contributes to the problems encountered by children with anomalies in acquiring basic arithmetic skill. They also report that preliminary data from their laboratory shows that up to 60% of dyslexic children also suffer from deficits in subitizing and Mathematics Learning Disbility (MLD) children may also suffer from deficits in saccade control. Subitizing is a precursor to math skills…..
….one reason for the problems in dyscalculia (Mathematics Learning Disbility), is the poor development of the sense of number on the basis of subitizing. Subitizing therapy improves subitizing. Subitizing therapy improves math skills. Subitizing therapy is vision therapy for math deficits."
"…Autists count differently when compared with typically developing individuals. Autists differ from typically developing individuals in their counting skills by a slower reaction time when naming quantities, a later development of sequencing skills and recalling positions and no benefit from recognizing a canonical placement of dots….. A lack of visual-spatial working memory in autists is the most direct explanation for their impaired skills. This weak visual-spatial working memory combined with a strong rote memory could lead autists to develop an alternative number knowledge strategy based on memory…..
…A lack of visual-spatial working memory is the most direct explanation for a lower counting speed and impaired sequencing skills. This lack seems to influence the development of subitizing skills and it might influence the use and development of the large approximate number skill. Because these basic skills of autists are cruder, their development of number proficiency lags behind…."
"… For students with autism, learning basic counting skills are important not only for their academic careers, but for their future independence….
….The participants with autism performed better in the visual support condition…."
You may think of "multitasking" as a skill that our super-wired world demands of us, as it insists that we listen to our iPods, text our friends, and check our email all at once. But if you have suffered a brain injury, you may have discovered that multitasking comes into play in performing the most basic activities of daily living, like shopping or cooking or driving a car. Basically, you multitask whenever you are doing or paying attention to several things at once. Your brain, however, is set up so that you cannot actually do several things simultaneously; instead, you toggle back and forth between different activities, and this requires your brain to plan, prioritize, and manage multiple goals. Depending on which parts of your brain are injured, multitasking might be challenging, and you might benefit from rehabilitation activities that help your brain to regain its ability to multitask effectively.
Various aspects of numerosity judgments, especially subitizing and the mapping of number onto space, depend strongly on attentional resources. Here we use a dual-task paradigm to investigate the effects of cross-sensory attentional demands on visual subitizing and spatial mapping. The results show that subitizing is strongly dependent on attentional resources, far more so than is estimation of higher numerosities. But unlike many other sensory tasks, visual subitizing is equally affected by concurrent attentionally demanding auditory and tactile tasks as it is by visual tasks, suggesting that subitizing may be amodal. Mapping number onto space was also strongly affected by attention, but only when the dual-task was in the visual modality. The non-linearities in numberline mapping under attentional load are well explained by a Bayesian model of central tendency.