Advanced search

Colours and numbers

(18 Posts)
sparkleshine Mon 07-Jan-13 22:51:40

My DS is 3.1 and is struggling to recognise any of these. Despite using books to help, using them in play or everyday life and when talking about his favourite characters its just not coming to him at all.

Like with colours- I can show him 2 of the exact same picture/item and he will say 'don't know' or give me 2 different colours. Sometimes I'll ask him what number something is and he will tell me a colour!
His fave programme is Thomas tank engine and some have different colours and numbers and he just doesn't recognise or remember them even though we might have just read it. (Surely he should be able to tell that Percy and Henry are the same colour or remember I've said Thomas is the number 1)
It so frustrating.
Everyone tells me no to worry but it's hard not to. A friends daughter is 3 months older and I know comparing is wrong but even 6 months ago she knew her colours and could recognise numbers to 10.

He can count to 20 fine and count things on paper/books. He's developing fine in all other areas. It's just this.
Could it be just plain laziness or 'can't be bothered' attitude? Or am I worrying too soon?

Needingsomeadvice Mon 07-Jan-13 23:10:44


My DS was recognising 2-digit numbers at that age, but IME most kids aren't and he was pretty unusual. By contrast, he is almost 6 now and struggles to ride a bike with stabilisers, nervous at swimming, not dry at night until quite recently. My DD has autism but at 3.1 is much more confident and able physically, but numbers don't seem to 'stick' for her at all. Colours do though - she has been naming them since 18 months.

Does he go to nursery yet? Does he recognise colours at all? What is his speech like? Do you have any other concerns? What can he do?

Needingsomeadvice Mon 07-Jan-13 23:12:52

By the way, I am not at all saying you should be worried, just wanted to ask you about the bigger picture.

NaturalBaby Mon 07-Jan-13 23:15:08

Did he have a 2 year check with a HV or at nursery? If he's good in other areas then I wouldn't worry so much and see what nursery say.

DewDr0p Mon 07-Jan-13 23:20:11

I am no expert on what they should be doing when but even with my 3 dcs there were huge differences in when they could do this stuff. Have you tried giving him a choice ie "is it a red car or a blue car?" ? SALT told me to do that with ds when he said "I don't know" Might be worth a try? What happens if you say "which is the red one?" - will he point to it?

Can he hear you OK?

You say he counts - does he do that with meaning ie know he is counting 4 objects for example? That's more important (and shows more understanding) than recognising the actual figures at 3, I think.

tethersend Mon 07-Jan-13 23:22:59

Check his understanding of colour by asking him to match coloured objects to an identically coloured card.

Present him with 3 cards, one of each colour and hand him one object; ask him to match it with the coloured card.

If he struggles with this and you are sure he understands the instruction, it may be worth having him checked for colour-blindness. Then again, he may just do it in his own time.

DD didn't recognise numbers at all at that age, i wouldn't worry about that.

3smellysocks Mon 07-Jan-13 23:36:24

Don't worry about it. My eldest couldn't recognise any numbers when starting school and only recognized colours aged 4 - he is now in juniors and on the top table for everything. My middle child recognised all his colours aged 20 months but has no idea about numbers aged 4. They are all different and will all get there.

sparkleshine Mon 07-Jan-13 23:47:57

He's been going to nursery part time since 9 months. I will mention it to them when he goes this week. Never thought to ask though I do put it on his 3 monthly development sheet that its something I want to work on. He had his 2 yr check and was fine, obviously numbers and colours weren't a priority then. Not seen a HV since.

Hearing wise is normal. No problems there. Speech is ok, has a good range of words. Certain words and sounds are difficult such as the 'th' ''cl' and 'tr' sounds he can't say. 'Train' is 'frain' 'clock' is 'cock' and 'there' is 'dere'. Don't know if that is normal at his age.

Will try the matching cards with object idea. Must admit I don't really do the 'which is the red car' game but will give it a go.

With counting I mean that there are 5 trees and he will point to each one and count up to 5. Sometimes he will 'see' or count an extra one that isnt there if he counts too fast. Don't think this is right though and I will ask him to do it again.

People have mentioned colour blindness but the way I see it is that if I tell him a car is red, He should still recognise that the same colour is red as I've said it is, even though his brain sees it as purple. Does that make sense?

Maybe I should speak with my HV

tethersend Tue 08-Jan-13 00:06:15

The problem with the 'give me the red car' idea is that it relies on a child knowing what 'red' is IYSWIM, and understanding the label. Colour matching only checks whether the child can differentiate between colours and recognise colour as an attribute; they need have no language at all.

"People have mentioned colour blindness but the way I see it is that if I tell him a car is red, He should still recognise that the same colour is red as I've said it is, even though his brain sees it as purple. Does that make sense? "

It makes sense, but colour blindness often means that a person cannot differentiate between colours- so he could see red, orange, purple etc. as the same colour or tone. I agree with others though, it is too soon to worry.

DewDr0p Tue 08-Jan-13 08:12:11

Good point tethers end.

Perhaps some sorting games then where you group all the red objects, blue etc?

My dh is mildly colour blind - in his case he struggles to differentiate sludgy greens and grey or pale pink and white, for example.

Mainly though OP I would mention it to nursery and try not to worry.

DeWe Tue 08-Jan-13 09:19:34

Children learn what interests them.
Dd1 knew her letters at 2yo, without me deliberately teaching her.
At 3.6yo she finally learnt her colours after a lot of imput from me. Tbh I did wonder if she was going to be colourblind, although I know it's very rare in girls, but it was just letters interested her, colours didn't.

I think you can get the colourblind test things on line. the ones where they have lots of coloured dots with a path/letter/number running through. Even on the letter/number ones, you could see if he can trace the path through with his finger (don't say look for the different colours, say along the lines of, can you guide the car to the garage along the path). But not managing that still isn't a certainty he's colourblind as, at that age, children don't necessarily cooperate the way we'd expect.

arista Tue 08-Jan-13 10:53:42

hi, just wanted to say that my daughter at 2 was able to recognise all colours, shapes and could count as well contrary to my sister daughter who was 1 year older than her. Now mine is 5 and hers 6 and hers has catched up with things she did not know at 3. What I am trying to say is each and every child is different and some are more interested in learning than others but that does not mean anything they would learn when they have to.

Tiggles Tue 08-Jan-13 13:52:45

Whilst DS1 knew 'all' his colours (ie odd ones like turquoise as well as the more standards ones) by the time he was 2, DS2 was completely different. At 3 he still had no clue, couldn't point out different colours, couldn't match two blocks of the same colour. Then, some time after his third birthday (about 3.3) he discovered the Disney Cars film. I started calling the colours after his favourite characters Lightning Red, Chick Hick Green, etc. Within a week he suddenly seemed to get it and learnt loads of them really quickly.

sparkleshine Tue 08-Jan-13 21:16:26

Thanks everyone for your input and advice. I will keep trying and encouraging. I know he will get it at some point, hopefully by the time he goes to school. [Hmm]
I'll try not to worry so much about numbers though. I will mention it to the nursery and to the HV if no progress in the next few months.

Needingsomeadvice Tue 08-Jan-13 23:11:08

This game might be good for your DS (at least for you to be able to see if he can match them?). I bought it for DD because she was interested in colours so I thought we could play a simple game with it (she struggled with the actual communication due to her ASD). Just thought I would recommend it smile.

TheSurgeonsMate Wed 09-Jan-13 10:15:53

From watching dd, I don't think they learn colours the way we imagine. It looks to me as though it's not about seeing a group of objects an recognising that they are different colours and then wondering what that's all about. What dd did was learn the colours one by one. First colour learnt - purple. "My purple shoes." Then others came in one by one. I noticed that nursery chose red and yellow as early easy ones and did activities that just talked about one colour a lot. Her last colour learnt was blue - apparently that's quite typical.

DewDr0p Wed 09-Jan-13 12:46:52

Ooh yes surgeonsmate I remember my Mum (retired teacher) saying most children learn red (or a similar colour) first.

tethersend Wed 09-Jan-13 13:27:07

Even though children learn to label one colour first, they only recognise it as an attribute by it's difference to other colours IYSWIM.

In other words, they can distinguish the purple shoes because they are not red or green; they have therefore learned what red and green are (or are not) but have not yet learned to label them as such, which is not the same thing.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now