Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

She's way behind and I'm overstressing!

Posted by on May. 17, 2012 at 1:36 PM
  • 101 Replies

My 5 year old daughter (well step daughter) just finished pre-k but she tested way behind.. She can only recognize letters A, C, O, and S out of the whole alphabet, none of the sounds they make.. None of her numbers, can't write her name without copying, and then not well.  Missed a few colors and can't count to 10 in the right order. (and all of that I've taught her)
-She's been living with me and her father close to a year, befor that she was with her bio-mother whom (and I'm not bashing, it's fact) is a drug addicted child beater. So she didn't teach Aliyah anything, when she got here she knew more about how to make meth than she did her ABCs. Bio-mother's boyfriend had molested Aliyah on several occasions and she's got scars from cigarette burns all over her legs and stomach... Since she got here she's had no contact with her 'oven' as I like to call her... But I fear that the trauma might never heal over...
Most of the work I've been doing is on her behavior, she was very violent at first and had night terrors... I feel like I'm failing at the academics.
I try so hard and we go over ABCs and 123s every day, but she can't retain it it seems....
I just don't know what to do anymore..
They want to hold her back in pre-k but she doesn't want it and her father says to just keep pushing her and put her in kindergarten...
What should I do???????

by on May. 17, 2012 at 1:36 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
by Silver Member on May. 17, 2012 at 1:44 PM
3 moms liked this

Talk to her doctor to see if she has any learning issues. Also check with the school to see if they offer any summer help that is more one on one. Make the learning as fun as possible with counting stuff, games involving colors, letter, numbers ect.  When you play  incorporate learning in to it. Maybe videos too might help. Also maybe try hooked on phonics, it was great for my two oldest.

One thing I did with my son who was behind a little due to speach issues when he started kindergarten was dry shapes and words in the dirt and have him copy them. He loved it since he got to get dirty while he did it.

by on May. 17, 2012 at 1:49 PM

#1 - her father's will trumps yours.

#2 - unless she's truly diagnosed with learning delays or disabilities, chances are she will swim rather than sink when put into the full on kinder environment. Plus you have the benefit of experienced teachers and staff who can help provide her with the professional help she may need. They don't need to know all that much to enter kinder. Plus only by placing her and having their professional staff (or an equivelent) evaluate her as having special needs, will you be able to get that sort of care for her. Just letting her flounder around in preschool will not bring her up to speed, it will simply leave her unchallenged and behind. 

If she's not already receiving mental health care, she should be. 

Without ME there would be no awesome!

by Gold Member on May. 17, 2012 at 3:26 PM
2 moms liked this
First off there is hope that she will overcome. Kids are so resilient. Yes it will have effects but love her dearly she certainly needs it. We kept foster kids and had a similar situation with one who was eventually adopted by her uncle. We still see her and she is doing well. My advice? If she wants to go to k send her you could always keep her back if you see she can not make it up. Seems like she has thrived already in your house and she may just catch up!
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on May. 17, 2012 at 4:57 PM
First she really needs therapy if she isn't already getting it. She also needs to really feel safe in your stable environment with loving boundaries and consequences. The academics will come when she starts feeling safe enough to learn. I would go ahead and send her to K. She can always repeat it. Just work with her every day, making learning a fun game. Maybe put some alphabet and number stickers on her wall and sing the alphabet song every night while pointing to the letters. My son was a foster child and halfway thru K,I thought he would never learn his letters and numbers. He was also having unwanted behaviors and was insecure. Finally he just seemed to get it after they went back after Christmas and had caught up by the end of the year. He is now adopted, in 4th grade and a secure loving child.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on May. 17, 2012 at 7:54 PM

You are dealing with so much!  We had a little girl in our distant family that had some similar circumstances. (Her first words at about 3 years old were "Shup Bitch", and "F*** you"). Give her the love and work with her behavior first and foremost.  Has she been tested to determine if she has any specific disalbilities that you can work on?  Was her mom on drugs when she was pregnant?  Many of the drug babies have various learning disabilities.  Is the pre-school part of the public school system?  If so, I would follow their recommendations, if not, I would probably go ahead and put her in school and demand she be tested and get whatever services are necessary for her.  You are so wonderful to be taking on this challenge!  Hang in there.

by Bronze Member on May. 17, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Honestly right now I would not nec. test for disabilities b/c she is still going through trauma and adjusting unless the teachers suggest it.  Maybe through your local child find. 

Keep loving her, think about the staying back... tell dad its the "new" in thing for rich people (it really is it was on the news here a few days ago) b/c it does give some extra time for maturing etc. (Kinder is NOT play etc. its the old 1st 2nd) Look at her size, would she "look" out of place.  Giving her some time for maturing, feeling safe, and catching up is not neessarily a bad thing and since she's so young she wouldn't even realize it. When is her birthday, would she really be that much "older" than the other kids? 

Also during the summer, just keep reading to her etc. make things a game.  And think of "sneaky" ways to find out what she may know.  I say this b/c my dd would not know her colors if I asked her "what color is this?" but when I would say go get the blue shirt, dang if she didn't bring the right one.  Lots of games easy on the drills.  Give her lots of chances for success.  Read the same book lots of times so that she starts "reading" with you etc.

You still have time to decide.  Breathe. And you ARE right to focus on the behavior more than the academics.  C'mon she's 5 not 15, behavior is what its ALL about right now.

by Member on May. 17, 2012 at 8:45 PM
2 moms liked this

 Her story about her bio mama breaks my heart =(  No child should go threw that.  Thank god she has you as her mama!  Keep up the good work!

by on May. 17, 2012 at 10:35 PM
2 moms liked this

You can check with the local kindergarten to see what they expect the child to know before starting school and what they can expect to learn during kindergarten.  In my area, your daughter would be on track for starting kindergarten, though in the adjoining county, they would expect her to be reading already.  Once you see what the local kindergarten expects, that may help you feel more comfortable with sending her to school.

Also, your daughter's trauma may or may not have anything to do with her learning.  It may just be a developmental stage.  Three of my kids were advanced with academics.  One child was not.  He was a very smart kid in other areas but just had a hard time retaining academic info.  He ended up repeating kindergarten.  He was still a bit slow until about 1st or 2nd grade when he started to "get it" academically and really started doing well.

As the others have said, you want to make learning fun.  You also want to keep the activities brief (unless she wants to continue them), so they are interesting to do.  Check the library for books about letters/numbers. You can sort pennies, draw letters in shaving cream on a pan, etc.  I like the website  Look for the "theme" link at the top of the page.  They have fun ideas for each letter of the alphabet as well as numbers.

by on May. 17, 2012 at 10:50 PM

She should be able to have some sort of case manager assigned to her.  Talk to her pedi and your insurance company about this.  Also if child protective services were involved they should be able to help you make this decision and help her transition into school

by Bronze Member on May. 18, 2012 at 12:21 AM
1 mom liked this

That is really sad. I don't understand how people can hurt children, especially as a supposed mother.

My son never went through anything  like that, but he was behind going into kindergarten. He had some speech and motor delays and he just didn't seem to understand things very well from me. I remember when he was in kindergarten he would come home from school all excited to tell me what he learned and I would laugh because I had tried to teach him the same things. He is now near the end of his first grade year and he is ahead in everything except reading. He is at the middle of first grade for reading but still pretty close to where he should be.

Honestly if I had held him back I think he would be struggeling a lot more. It really depends on the child but holding them back does not always help.

Also I have lots of idea's if you are ever looking for any. Here are a few that often help with letter recognition:

1) Cut letters and numbers out of sandpaper and other textures, some kids will recognize them better when they can feel them. You can also have the kids color the sandpaper really heavily with crayon and then place a peice of paper over it and a warm iron. The crayon will transfer over.

2) my kids really liked writing in pudding. Sand, dirt, fingerpaint, etc. are fun

3) is a really fun website for kids learning their letters

When my kids were learning their colors they loved mixing colors. Just a couple of drops of food coloring in a glass of water. We would also add food coloring to milk or other foods.

If her handwriting is really sloppy try having her do other things that require small motor skills like cutting paper, strining beads or sorting small items.

I don't know how much of this you have already tried but I hope some of it helps. Atnd if you want more ideas you can message me. Also I am sure her past has a lot to do with her delays. It takes a long time to get past that kind of stuff. Hopefully the more time that goes on the easier it will become.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)