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Does my son have a learning disability?

I am very concerned for my 4 1/2 year old son. He attends a daycare/preschool everyday where they seem to have a pretty good learning system. He is a very good counter and knows his ABC's up and down, but he is having problems with recognizing each letter and number. I have several flashcard sets and letter toys that we play with, and when he sees each letter/number he can't remember what it is. I will go through each letter/number, point it out, go over it several times, and he will remember it and repeat what it is. Once I show him another letter/number the last one completely escapes his memory. He knows a few numbers, and a good bit of his letters, but I am having such a hard time teaching him anything else. It seems almost as if there may be some sort of visual to brain connection missing. Is this normal for his age, or should I be more concerned?

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Asked by Anonymous at 9:17 PM on Nov. 16, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (10)
  • The child is a normal child who's ability to remember is not fully developed yet. I purpose that you let him grow up at a normal rate and not push him. Pushing him will cause him to be embarrassed and feel that he is unloved or not normal. You don't want that. Please don't push your child to be everything YOU think he should be. You need to realize this now, before it's too late.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:23 PM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • he will catch on..its normal...i thought i was doing a good job teaching my son his abc's and countin to 20 before prek but i didnt know that the 3 yr old class was already learning to recognize the letters and my son was behind. They told me that he would catch on quickly though and he has. he has been in pre k since mid august and now he recognizes all the letters and is beginning to write them.

    Answer by shay1130 at 9:34 PM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • he's only 4. give him time.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:22 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • Instead of asking him to remember, use the flash cards as you sing the ABC's. Eventually, it will come to him.

    Answer by motherofhope98 at 8:09 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • Rote memory comes with time and cognitive development. They tell you to read to your child alot, so their vocabulary grows and they can recognize (not read yet) as many words as possible. Then once they get to school, they learn to read quickly. The biggest thing to work on with a child about to enter kindergarten is their lower case letters. A sentence is started with a capital letter but the rest is lower case. It will help them alot in their testing and reading readiness. Don't push too hard. It will come quickly when they put it all together. Its great that you are working with them. I like the DVD by Leapfrog called Letter Factory. Catchy tune to help them remember, they get visual stimulation for letter recognition and it is age appropriate. Its a great start. It doesn't sound like a learning disability to me though. Just hasn't reached the milestone where it all sticks yet. Keep playing & reading-it will come!

    Answer by Lifes-A-Dance at 9:36 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • It didn't click for my son until his preschool started teaching the letter a word that starts with th letter, the sound the letter makes, and a jesture. They sing while the teacher is pointing to a letter board....Aa Apple "aaa, aaa" whiel making a jester of eating an apple. B is Bb ball "buh, buh" while making the gesture for bouncing a ball. I don't know what it is about the jesture but it really made it click for him.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:13 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • I know there's a general "sooner the better" movement going on, but the reality is many children simply are NOT cognitively ready to meet specific pre-reading and reading milestones at these younger ages. In many school districts, letter recognition and sounds are *STILL* a primary component of kindergarten with a thrust of real 'learning to read' coming in 1st grade. We can introduce the concepts to our children but if they're not picking it up, it may simply mean they aren't ready.

    Read, read and read some more. Ditch the flash cards. Play "I Spy" with letters - we play this when we're out and about. "I spy the letter S" and my kids will find the letter on Stop signs, store signs, etc. Get letter magnets or foam letters for the bath. Let him play with them - ask him to find specific letters. "I'm spelling my name, can you help me find the letter M?" Play letter Bingo.

    Answer by ldmrmom at 10:22 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • Let me ask you this - how did you teach your son basic shapes and colors? Letters are no different. Stop with the flashcards. They are so unnecessary at this age. Use letters in your day-to-day talk. When you're teaching shapes and colors to a toddler, you say things like "Get me the big, blue ball. It's round like a circle." Letters are just different "shapes." Find things that look like the letter. Find letters in signs. Find letters on his toys. Find letters in various places. Just talk about them. Don't quiz him. Just talk and play. "Oh, I like the letter B block. See the red B? What if we stack a few. Can you help me find blocks M, P and C? Here's M. Here's P." Or "Let's spell your name out of blocks. What letters do we need?" Learning, especially for a preschooler, should be FUN!

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:24 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • Stop "teaching" him and play with him. Kids that age learn better through play rather than sitting down and being instructed.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:46 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • I do not have an answer for you but I want to share my experience. Last night my daughter and I went to parent teacher conference for my 5 year old Grandson's Kindergarten. His teachers told us that he "most likely has a learning disability" because of the very same things you have seen in your 4 1/2 year old. I am so happy to be reading the responces here. I am now wondering if his teachers may have jumped to this "label" too quickly. Good luck with your son. IMO He will be just fine.

    Answer by coug7099 at 6:02 AM on Nov. 25, 2009

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