Additional Scaffolds for Thinking

Structured thinking/graphic organizers support weak central coherence because they build upon the strength in visual memory that many students on the autism spectrum have. They show students what material to attend to, and which to suppress.

The following “Inference Equation” chart can be used with students in fourth through eighth grades. I have seen reading specialists use this technique with their students, after modeling how to fill out the information with a familiar text (I Do), having students work in pair to analyze a current text (We Do), and then having them work individually on their independent reading text (You Do).

Inference Equation

Evidence from text

(Actions)

What I already know . . .

(Background Knowledge)

I can infer . . .
Example: She looks at her feet when she speaks in her paper voice, and her cheekbones get pink. I’ve seen people who are shy, scared, or embarrassed look at the ground and blush when they talk quietly to others. I can infer that this character is shy, possibly embarrassed about something and might be afraid to speak to the other person.
 

 

   
Evidence from text

(Physical Appearance)

What I already know . . .

(Background Knowledge)

I can infer . . .
 

 

   
Evidence from text

(Words)

What I already know . . .

(Background Knowledge)

I can infer . . .
 

 

 

 

I appreciate how this support has students provide textual evidence for their thinking. This connects in the student’s mind, what the author wrote, and how they thought about it (through their own experiences) to create an inference.

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