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Tutoring for 6 year old Kindergartener

My son is 6 years old and adopted at age 4 from a foreign country. He continued to only speak his language, Bulgarian, for 1.5 years. He was considered advanced in intelligence and at age 4.5 when tested in Bulgarian scored 158 on WPPSI IQ test. He started Kindergarten 1 month shy of his 6th birthday at a private school. There are only 15 kids in his class and 7 are ‘gifted’ 4 year olds. It is not a gifted school but does attract a lot of kids who are gifted as well as a lot of kids who are dyslexic and others who have been diagnosed autistic. I was told my child is behind. He can’t count past 12 (but he used to count to over 100 in Bulgarian-now he can’t count past 5 in Bulgarian); he doesn’t know any letter sounds. I’m not the type of parent to drill my child but I feel like I’ve failed him and am now considering programs like Kumon or Sylan. Any advice appreciated.

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Asked by becometutormom at 12:33 PM on Dec. 1, 2011 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 1 (2 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • Just keep working with him. If you work with him at home and can get him to progress both of you will start to feel the release of the pressure. He has had a lot of changes in his short life. Not that they are bad, but they are changes. Make learning fun. My 3 yo loves flash cards. You can make them out of index cards or paper plates and use stickers to decorate. My almost 6 yo niece loves them as well. If you make learning fun he will enjoy it and excel at it. Good luck to you!

    Answer by coala at 12:47 PM on Dec. 1, 2011

  • He spoke Bulgarian for 4 years before he came to you. He continued to speak Bulgarian for 1.5 years after coming to you. So, in essence, he's been speaking English for 6 months. He's forgetting his "mother tongue" and trying to learn a new language at an accelerated rate.

    I'd cut the kid some slack and just work with teaching him English. If he truly is advanced in intelligence it will still be there when he learns to communicate in this new (to him) language.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 1:12 PM on Dec. 1, 2011

  • I would also work with him on language rather than the basic kindergarten stuff. This is likely the source of the problem.

    Answer by Mom-2-3-Girlz at 1:38 PM on Dec. 1, 2011

  • I would also make sure the school knows his background, being that hes only spoken english for so little time.

    Answer by minimo77 at 2:27 PM on Dec. 1, 2011

  • Sometimes parent child relationship therapy is a great approach in families who came together through adoption and where children experience adjustments. I have seen kids in play therapy who have improved receptive and expressive language skills, attention, following directions, and mood. It also has helped reduce anxiety. Do not get caught up in gifted or if behind. IQ is not set. It is very flexable. The brain is a mucsle that gets lots of exercise each day. Perhaps an evaluation by an occupational therapist can also be of some benefit. OT's can work wonders with reading, sounds, attention...I find a skilled OT is a true blessing. A tutor may not, most likely, understand the complex issues your child encounters. A speech therapist may also work as well or better than an OT depending on the background. I would start with the speech, OT, and play therapist.

    Answer by frogdawg at 10:21 AM on Dec. 2, 2011

  • I am a mom through adoption. It is hard sometimes not having famlily history and dealing with cultural issues at the same time. Hang in there. When you have the right team...the correct interventions are put in place. Having him in a good private school willing to meet his individual needs is a great resource to have. We did that. Our son's school is great when it comes to adjusting his needs inside the room. Sometimes larger public schools just can't. Start with talking to your child's doctor. If the doctor dismisses your concerns then find a new doctor. Most therapies need a medical order so if your doctor is not on board it can be difficult. In our therapy - we see lots of kids also in families through adoption. You are not alone. Your son will move forward because he has a mom who tries.

    Answer by frogdawg at 10:27 AM on Dec. 2, 2011

  • All great advice. I think I got thrown by his IQ score. I do have 2 other children I adopted from the US foster system and their adjusting was challenging with developmental testing really helping me understand some issues. So now I ran right out with my youngest and got testing as soon as he was home. I really was expecting him to have more adjustment issues. But his transition was amazing. I've always been embarrassed when talking of how smooth it was because other parents who adopted even from same orphanage had children struggling to adjust. The school knows his background but still at 1st conf. I heard only what he couldn't do: 'he is 6 and can't say the alphabet, count to 20, draw a stick figure, say his address, phone number, etc.. It seemed all he could do was spell his name. It is a great school and them saying it made me even more worried. I think I will just focus on English more. Thanks for helping me relax.

    Comment by becometutormom (original poster) at 12:13 PM on Dec. 2, 2011

  • Oh, my son does get OT and speech services at a developmental center. OT for visual processing disorder and left leg paralysis. Speech is mainly for articulation but has recently added vocabulary building and grammer. He has a submucousal cleft palate which means the bones in roof of mouth didn't seal but the 'covering'/roof of mouth is there (makse him sound like Urkel when he speaks).

    Comment by becometutormom (original poster) at 12:21 PM on Dec. 2, 2011

  • There maybe some other issues going on with him. Different country, different language, new kids, there may be some pyschological things going on with him.

    Answer by robinkane at 10:33 AM on Dec. 3, 2011

  • see a child psychiatrist...not saying he is mentally ill, but when we ot my ss he had to go because he is mentally ill, and in the last 5 years she has really guided us thru our whole family of issues, lol....she is really "OUR" psychiatrist and is a true key to understandin what goes on in ss head...dealing with his abuse, neglect, ffoster care and then coming to us..good luck

    Answer by shivasgirl at 6:54 PM on Dec. 5, 2011

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