This year I am teaching a new course called Learning Skills for students with significant learning disabilities. They're mostly on the autism spectrum but some have other diagnoses. In the past this course has been taught by a special education teacher alone, and they only did very basic math, pretty much just practicing addition. The goal, though, is for these students to pass MCAS (but probably not until they are juniors or seniors). I tried to google some basic math pre-tests to get a sense of what they know. The first problem asked students to add the numbers 12, 6, 3, 8, 5, 14, 15 and 7, thinking about a way to make adding them easier. Some were overwhelmed and skipped it, others turned to a calculator, still others added incorrectly and those who did add correctly didn't notice the pairs that add to 10 or 20. The second problem gave data to make a bar graph from and they did that successfully. I had anticipated using resources from when I taught pre-algebra, but I don't think we'll be able to use many of those until second semester at the earliest. Which means I'm a bit lost.
My intuition is to focus on problem solving skills (habits of mind) and find interesting ways to drill basic computation. For example, I remember a cool problem from one of my grad school classes that involved multiplying pairs of numbers on a number line and seeking patterns as you changed the pairs systematically.
I would love to hear any book or resource recommendations you can offer.
Thanks so much!