3,877 Hot Dogs

Image of hot dogs on grillThis past Wednesday night, Clay was upstairs with the aide that works with him at home when I heard the robotic sound of the keyboard he uses to communicate.

“I am really hungry.”

Not surprisingly, moments later he and the aide tromped down the stairs to the kitchen, where I was chopping vegetables for dinner.

“What would you like to eat?” I asked. In her daily report, his teacher wrote that Clay was “very hungry” at school that day. He had been eating all afternoon, and already had inhaled a plateful of french fries. But it was 6 p.m., and I know he was looking for more.

“Hot dogs,” he typed.

“OK. How many do you want?”


“Really,” I said. “You are hungry. We don’t have that many. How about one or two?”


While I was cooking his hot dogs on the barbecue, my wife came home from work. We told her about how many hot dogs Clay wanted. Then he typed for her, “I’m funny.”

“So true,” she typed back. “How did you come up with that number?”

“Hogwash,” he typed.

Hogwash or not, he is surprising us recently with how much he knows about numbers. Since he has been asking to study math in school this year, his behavior specialist bought him addition flash cards to work on at home. We didn’t know what to expect. He has been working with them using his keyboard for the past few weeks and gets most of the answers right. So we’ve been gradually mixing in subtraction and making the equations more and more difficult. Here is the sequence he and his aide ran through while we were all sitting at the kitchen table Wednesday night:

19 -12 = 7

21 – 9 = 12

24 – 12 = 12

100 – 50 = 50

100 – 30 = 70

65 – 32 = 33

73 – 29 = 44

He is doing these in his head. Sometimes he types the answer quickly. On the last few, he had to be prompted a few times to answer, but he got them right.

We are not sure what to make of this, yet. All those years in school when no one was sure if he could read, let alone solve math equations, he seems to have been teaching himself. I bought multiplication flash cards at a dollar store last night. Time to take it up a notch. Stay tuned.

Photo credit: PinkStock Photos. Attribution.


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  1. #1 by Marissa on November 4, 2010 - 6:26 pm

    I asked him one day how he knows how to do this math did someone teach him, and he said “in my head” lol crazy

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