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DS1 is 4yo - I'm v worried about his learning Please reassure me...

(27 Posts)
missingthemountains Tue 16-Jun-09 19:30:16

DS1 will be 5 in Oct and therefore will be starting at school in Sept. I am getting really concerned now because he only knows a handful of letters and doesn't seem to be picking up any more (and is forgetting some he already knew). The nursery and pre school staff say not to worry cos they don't need to know their letters now but every other child we know who is starting school at the same time already knows ALL of their letters. The other thing that really concerns me is that he still doesn't know his colours - he knows black/white, brown, pink and that's about it. I have tried to spend more time with him doing this stuff but he really struggles to remember any of it yet seems quite bright in other ways. I am feeling very very guilty because I just don't have the time I would like to spend with him helping him learn.

Has anyone else been in similar situation? Might he have dyslexia/dyspraxia or similar?

I am feeling like a really rubbish mummy. sad (and don't even ask me about toilet training sadsad)

DLI Tue 16-Jun-09 19:47:59

my ds has special educational needs and so was quite late in picking things up compared to other children and still is. in respect of colours, letters, numbers - the basics when i am out with him, eg shopping, i will ask him things like "do you like that green top? blue trousers, red apple, yellow banana and point to them. we count the cars in the street or the number of people we pass, that way he is learning even when he doesnt realise it and whilst doing other things.

bodiddly Tue 16-Jun-09 19:59:42

my ds is starting reception in September and he doesn't know his letters either ... he knows a few but even when I think he has picked up new ones he has forgotten them by the next time I mention them! I will continue going through them when out and about etc but will leave it to school to teach him as part of the phonics! He is also a little unreliable when it comes to colours but this is pretty much guaranteed to be because he is colour blind/deficient.

mrz Tue 16-Jun-09 20:07:08

Who says every other child who is starting school at the same time already knows all of their letters?

He sounds like a normal child about to start school. I know none of the 30 children who will be in my class in September know ALL their letters in fact most of them don't know any letters other than the first letter of their own name.

missingthemountains Tue 16-Jun-09 20:19:43

aw thanks for your replies - sounds like letters is not so much of an issue after all (doesn't stop me worrying a bit though wink)

still no idea what's going on with colours though as apparently his eyesight is fine. I just worry that not knowing his colours will disadvantage him further at school as a basic knowledge of primary colours seems to be the basis for alot of other learning - (e.g. counting the number of red cars - obviously the focus is on learning to count but if you don't know what's red it's a bit tricky)

sagacious Tue 16-Jun-09 20:30:17

dd didn't know all her letters (I think she knew 3 !)

RE the colours .. could he be colourblind?

Gorionine Tue 16-Jun-09 20:30:52

Ds3 is 5, he is finishing his reception year and NOW knows all his letters, he did not when he started.

I do not know about the colours. When you talk about his eye sight, what sort of test has he had? I do not remember the standards test my dcs did had much to to with recognising colours, maybe ask your GP what other test are available?

sagacious Tue 16-Jun-09 20:31:12

oo x post didn't see bodiddly's post

mrz Tue 16-Jun-09 20:33:56

Do you see knowing your colours as an essential life skill?

Last year I went to a EYFS conference where one of the key speakers was Wendy Lee Director of the Educational Leadership Project (International expert in Early Educational)
She showed a video of herself all dressed in red with a red clip board and a red bag with a group of children. Every so often she held up an object from the bag and asked what colour...obviously each time the answer was red.
Her message was this teaching children colour needed or will they pick it up naturally ?

ThingOne Tue 16-Jun-09 20:41:51

Don't worry. My DS1 (5) was completely disinterested in reading and letters before he went to school. He was really only interested in "his" letter and a handful of others.

Up until Christmas I still felt unsure as to whether he even knew the "sounds" they'd done. The class was regrouped on literacy grounds and he was in the "bottom" group. They started daily reading books after Feb half-term and he was still in with the non-readers on a very basic scheme. He suddenly decided these books were a good plan and when they regrouped for the summer term he had moved up to group two of four. He's now certainly up to average for his age on reading books, although his precision is sometimes lacking.

When they decide they want to make progress, they can. But not reading before seven or so, especially amongst boys, is quite common. It doesn't mean they have a problem.

missingthemountains Tue 16-Jun-09 20:43:28

I guess it's not essential as such but if there is a physiological reason why he doesn't know his colours (e.g. is colour blind) I'd rather know early on so we can advise the teachers etc so as to make any necessary adjustments. He had the 3 year old vision screening test which he passed although the orthoptist did remark that she had never before met a child of his age who passed the colour vision test, was evidently fairly bright but did not know his colours. I have been wondering if somehow he passed the test and yet still has some colour blindness? Can I get a referral to another orthoptist do you think?

chipmonkey Tue 16-Jun-09 21:40:17

missingthemountains, I am an optometrist and if the orthoptist was using Ishihara plates or similar ( a figure in a pattern of dots) then there is definitely no colour defect as it is a very precise test. If you really want a second opinion, any optometrist should be able to do this for you.
FWIW, ds1 could already read at the level of an 8 year old when he started school, ds2 didn't know most of his letters. But ds2 is now doing better than ds1 at school so I really wouldn't worry about it!
And I would have to say that I get a lot of pre-school children coming to me for eye tests and I personally use pictures to test all of them as the vast majority don't know letters.

bodiddly Tue 16-Jun-09 21:43:03

chipmonkey, I haven't had my ds tested but was told that if I am colour deficient (sorry don't know the proper term) then it was 99% likely that he would be. He wanted to say 100% but felt he had to give ds a glimmer of hope! I didnt realise that you could test them so young - is it advisable to take him for a proper diagnosis?

chipmonkey Tue 16-Jun-09 22:00:23

How old is your ds bodiddly? The Isihara plates have a children's section at the back which is basically a pattern of dots with a "path" of different coloured dots going through it. If the child can follow the "path" with a finger or paintbrush, then they pass the test. I have a different test in my home practice "Colour vision made easy" which uses shapes instead of numbers so also better for young children.
But as colour defects are carried on the X chromosome and as a female you would have to have two "defective" X chromosomes in order to have a colour defect, it does look likely that all your sons would have a colour defect and all your daughters would be carriers.
There is a lens system called Chromagen which is availabe in spectacle lens and also in contact lens form which can help and there is a list of pracitioners on that site.

bodiddly Tue 16-Jun-09 22:11:18

Ds is 4. He starts school in September. I don't think he has a major problem but there is definitely something not right! That said, I am not bad (can't be with a job as an interior designer!) but struggle on shades of certain colours and putting names to them. Some days I see a colour one way and different another! Thank you for that link - do you think I need to take him to see someone?

chipmonkey Tue 16-Jun-09 22:25:28

I think at the stage he's at, it would be good to know for sure whether he has a colour defect or not so that allowances can be made in school. Don't think there would be any real advantage in going the Chromagen route at 4 though, really that would be more help to an older child or adult.

bodiddly Wed 17-Jun-09 13:08:22

thanks chipmonkey - is there anywhere online I can see the Isihara plates? Am I correct in thinking they are the dot tests with a hidden tea cup/number in them?

neolara Wed 17-Jun-09 13:18:15

Someone once told me they taught their child colours by using smarties. If they got the colour right, they got to eat the smartie. (Immediate reward for correct answer.) I thought it was a fantastic idea!

GooseyLoosey Wed 17-Jun-09 13:22:09

Dd is in reception this year and ds was there last year. It is safe to say that the majority of children in niether reception class (including my children) knew all of their numbers.

SkirtingBored Wed 17-Jun-09 13:37:03

Sorry to highjack - chipmonkey, can I ask you a question? I am not colour-blind, but when I am given those coloured dots tests, it takes me much longer than anyone else to recognise there is anything but dots. Does that mean anything smile?

Missingthemountain - re letters and numbers, it is a range of children who start reception knowing all, some or none. All normal. Try not to worry smile.

chipmonkey Wed 17-Jun-09 16:29:14

Skirting, it possibly means that your two eyes don't work very well as a team! If you have a muscle imbalance, you may have difficulty pointing both eyes in the right [place at the right time! I wouldn't worry about it though unless you are getting headaches or have difficulty focussing.
bodiddly, there are online colour vision tests, I'll see if I can find one.....

chipmonkey Wed 17-Jun-09 16:32:23

Found one but it's only 4 cards. It would give you an idea though

bodiddly Wed 17-Jun-09 19:27:21

thanks for that chipmonkey - I couldn't do them at all!

SkirtingBored Wed 17-Jun-09 20:37:24

Ahh, thanks for that chipmonkey - I do have a lazy eye, so that explains it smile.

missingthemountains Thu 18-Jun-09 19:27:11

thanks Chipmonkey - have just done the test and he managed them all - maybe it's just a boy thing - why should he care what colour something is so long as he knows how to take it apart or whether you can climb on it? wink

I will definitely try the smarties thing - what a fab idea

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