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4 year old refuses to recognize ABC's & 123's
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4 year old refuses to recognize ABC's & 123's

My son is 4 1/2 and this is his second year in preschool.  He will be in preschool 1 more year due to his birthday and the school cutoff age.  

I can honestly say that I have been trying to teach him his ABC's and 123's for about 2 years now.  He knows the ABC song and can count to 16.  But when asked if he can find a certain letter or number, he usually does not know.  He does recognize numbers 0-3 and maybe about 10 letters, but that is it.  He is not interested.  While teaching him, I have used puzzels, books, workbooks, DVD's, number and alphabet charts, Leap Frog hand held games as well a v-tech.  I have also used a reward system with m&m's, tossing a ball for every correct answer, making a big deal about it, telling him how proud I am, etc.  He is just not getting it and I am at my witts end.  It took him about a year to learn his colors...and that was a nightmare.  I know this is not normal, and I don't know what to do.  I was hopeing to get more information on what may be wrong.  Thank You
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154929_tn?1196191338
Has the preschool done a conference with you yet?  I ask this for my son is also 4 1/2 and has another year of preschool due to the dec 1st cut off date.  He won't recognize his letters or numbers at home other than 1,2,3 and t, y for his name----if we are out and about and looking at signs on doors or what not he can tell me most of those letters.  

His preschool did a mid year confernce and they did testing onthe kids--Ty passed with flying colors.  He knew everything he was supposed other than he go the 6 & 9 mixed up--so if you are really concerned call and set up an appointment with the school and see what they say--also if you can pop into the school and see what he is doing--you may be surprised that he is just pushing your buttons.....or you will find out if there is a real concern that may need further investigation.  Good Luck
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I am searching for answers myself. My daughter will be 4 1/2 next month and can only count to 12 and doesn't know her ABC's. She does know her colours. We had to put her in daycare/preschool at 2 yrs old to help her speech. She kept having problems with her ears when she was an infant and they kept saying that the ears were dirty, unfortunately after I took her home after one of those visits, her eardrum ruptured and then the next day after leaving the doctors again the other one ruptured. To make a long story short, she couldn't hear while the ears tried to repair themselves but we just found that out recently. We knew something was wrong but no one seems concerned. We have her in speech therapy since 18 months but it doesn't seem to help much. She had tubes in her ears last year and her speech isn't bad to me but most people can't understand her. We took her for an interview for a private school because her birthday is November and we wanted her in school this fall because daycare will bore her. They came back and said that they think she is deaf and has everyone fooled because of her coping ability to follow others and her inability to answer their questions, count or recognize the alphabet. I just had her hearing twice and both places said her hearing has repaired itself and her hearing is fine. Both her speech therapist say it is just phonology. I am thinking it is more but don't know what other resources to go too. After I read your statement, I thought that maybe our children are normal in their learning ability and we are just expecting too much. I know my daughters speech will take another 3 or 4 years but when they have tested her mental ability and knowledge she has scored a full year above her age.
I really think that your son will learn when he is ready and you are doing everything the right way. We have to remember that they are the youngest of their peers and that 6 months is huge when it comes to learning.
Hope it all works out well.

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112359_tn?1226870683
I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "He is not interested." Many four year old's aren't, but it seems like we only hear about the ones that are precocious. He has probably absorbed much more of the academics than he is letting you know, but he really doesn't care about it, he isn't putting out much effort. Since he has another full year of preschool before kindergarten I would just relax and enjoy him being a little boy right now. Continue to try to play games using letters and numbers, the LeapPad and all that- because he is learning despite himself. But allow yourself to let go of the notion that he is supposed to know the alphabet and number now, that he is somehow terribly behind already... because he isn't. Sometime in the next 6 months or so, when he's ready, he'll suddenly be interested and start showing you how much he really knows. At some point it will be like a switch goes on in his head and he will suddenly be counting everything, and looking for letters everywhere.You are, in a way, lucky that he doesn't make the cutoff for kindergarten and will be over 5 1/2 when he starts. Think about how many parents hold their children (especially little boys) back a year to start because they make the kindergarten cutoff but will be just turned 5 when they start... This is one of the reasons why! Enjoy your son and encourage him, and by this time next year he'll be ready for kindergarten.
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13167_tn?1327197724
I agree with you,  it sounds like there is a cause for concern.

A LOT of boys his age don't know letters and numbers,  but in fact,  with those kids no one has even tried to teach them.    It sounds like you have worked very,  very hard and he's struggling with learning written/visual letters and numbers.  

My youngest son had real difficulty with spatial relationships and was in Occupational Therapy for awhile.  He had trouble "orienting" a piece of paper with the top margin on top and the holes in the paper on the left,  he couldn't find a page number in his books (if they were instructed to go to page 45,  he'd search until he saw 45 instead of going sequentially and honing in on the correct number by estimating).

When you say he's "refusing",  it might feel like that but I think it's well worth the effort to have him evaluated so he can get early help if needed.

Best wishes.
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Avatar_f_tn
Kids develop at different paces.  My 4.75 y/o son learned to recognize the alphabet, upper and lower case letter in a week when he was 3.5 by working with him on foam puzzles.  He learned to recognize colors even beyond primary colors at 2.5.  He now recognizes shapes i.e.  he recognized recently that an argyle pattern are diamonds.  He recognizes numeral from 0-20.

My point here isn't to brag.  See, at the same time my son has a language delay and he attends an Early Intervention preschool and gets speech/language therapy outside of that.  Kids are often very different in their abilities and skills at this age.  Letter recognition is a task for 5 and 6 year olds.  Many kids do recognize letter and numerals and even read at an early age but not all.  If your son is on pace, generally speaking in the other areas of his development, give him some time.  If you are concerned, still, contact your local school district and ask for an assessment.  Best wishes...
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Avatar_f_tn
Kids develop at different paces.  My 4.75 y/o son learned to recognize the alphabet, upper and lower case letter in a week when he was 3.5 by working with him on foam puzzles.  He learned to recognize colors even beyond primary colors at 2.5.  He now recognizes shapes i.e.  he recognized recently that an argyle pattern are diamonds.  He recognizes numeral from 0-20.

My point here isn't to brag.  See, at the same time my son has a language delay and he attends an Early Intervention preschool and gets speech/language therapy outside of that.  Kids are often very different in their abilities and skills at this age.  Letter recognition is a task for 5 and 6 year olds.  Many kids do recognize letter and numerals and even read at an early age but not all.  If your son is on pace, generally speaking in the other areas of his development, give him some time.  If you are concerned, still, contact your local school district and ask for an assessment.  Best wishes...
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Avatar_n_tn
No immediate cause for concern.....

It is obvious from your post that you are not one of those mother's that simply expects their child will learn everything from teachers. You are doing everything in your power to teach your child, and that is everything you should be doing. I am sure that he is absorbing more than you think, but like many boys (especially at that age) they would rather spend their time on tasks that are fun or require more large gross motor skills than sitting around being taught/quizzed on their letters and numbers.

I have a 3 1/2 year old boy who started preschool just about six months ago. I instantly felt pressure (that I created) because I compared my son to other children in his class. There are some in his class who are able to recognize all their letter, shapes, colors and numbers (even up to 50) & who are able to spell their names orally & even write them. While there are others who are not even able to recognize their colors. Each child is unique, learns at their own pace, and expresses what they learn in their own way. Keep up the good work, and I am sure you will soon see the fruits of your labor :)
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384564_tn?1200085049
I am a daycare provider and have seen many 3 and 4 year old with different learning skills. Some want to learn, and some don't. Some will learn everything while others will pick and choose what they want to learn. I had a little girl who just couldn't get it, no matter how I helped her. Nothing to worry about, all children go through these phases. This little girl is doing fine in Kinder and now is in 1st grade with no problems. I wouldn't worry about it too much.  In kinder all they really learn is ABC's, 123's basic writing and letter recognition, writing their name. Sometimes kids won't learn from their parents but will do it for other people. I'm sure he will be fine once school starts. If for some reason he isn't, they will let you know but I think him knowing what he knows now is plenty!!
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384564_tn?1200085049
I am a daycare provider and have seen many 3 and 4 year old with different learning skills. Some want to learn, and some don't. Some will learn everything while others will pick and choose what they want to learn. I had a little girl who just couldn't get it, no matter how I helped her. Nothing to worry about, all children go through these phases. This little girl is doing fine in Kinder and now is in 1st grade with no problems. I wouldn't worry about it too much.  In kinder all they really learn is ABC's, 123's basic writing and letter recognition, writing their name. Sometimes kids won't learn from their parents but will do it for other people. I'm sure he will be fine once school starts. If for some reason he isn't, they will let you know but I think him knowing what he knows now is plenty!!
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Avatar_n_tn
It seems you are not the only one have this concern. just 1 hour ago, I felt so desperate on my 4-year old daughter, I try to teach her about the number and color, but she just didn't show any interest, I was so worried about it, since i keep compare her with my older daugher who always seems easy to pick up everything taught at similar age.  Just hope all kids are different, they develop in their own pace.

Best wishes
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Avatar_n_tn
My son's story sounds a lot like yours.  He is now 8 and doing GREAT!
We thought that he was unintrested in learning reading/writing skills as well.  By the time he got to first grade, he was put into Reading Recovery.  This did not help.  He was the youngest in his class due to the cut off, and his teachers kept saying he was just too young.
I am a teacher myself, and at this point, I was very frustrated.  I took him for a VT evaluation, only to discover his eyesight was aweful!!!  He had amblyopia (lazy eye) in his left eye- (20/400!!) and farsighted in both eyes.  He got glasses, and patched his eye for a while.  He suddenly became successful in school (goes to show you what being able to see will do for you...).
I felt terrible (to put it mildly) that we missed this for so long.  We NEVER missed a well check at the pediatrician's office.  My son passed vision screenings at preschool and the ped's office.  Apparently, this happens all the time.
So to make a long story short - I always tell people now to get a thorough eye exam, by an eye doctor, before their child starts school!!

Best wishes
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

I completely understand your concern as my 4 year old will sing ABC and count till 20 orally but when it comes to recognizing them, he will only recognize about 16 of the letters and none of the numbers. I have tried lot of things with him too but as he will be repeating his preschool year (as he misses the cut off date) it means that he still has almost two years before he will start kindergarten, I have cut him some slack. When he plays with his toys, he makes stories which are better than 6-7 year old's stories that they show on the children's channel on TV. And he never used to talk in English (as its a second language to us) before and last year in preschool, I was really worried about this but this year as if a switch has gone on in his head, he now speaks really really good English, even makes complete correct sentences. So I feel, just like someone else here mentioned, at times they observe and learn everything despite of themselves but do not want to apply that knowledge till they are ready to do it so just wait for another 6 months or so, which is what I am doing and then we will check again on how they are doing. In the meanwhile, continue teaching him without expecting anything and believe me, he is taking it all in, just not showing it to you. Hope this helps and all the best to all of us parents...
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603946_tn?1333945439
I was taught over 15 years ago that "reading" does not happen until both sides of the brain are totally grown together. Surely that is simplified- but in dyslexia both sides have to be stimulated and it almost takes exercising both sides for them to "Meet"- so I am concerned when you say he refuses because that would mean he is willfully and intentionally defying you- maybe you didn't mean that- but IF it's not his fault you would feel sorry later if you gave him a lot of grief over something he cannot help- right? Like  a true physical illness- you can't say someone "refuses to get well"- if you want to chat more about it I can tell you a few exercise ideas that use left and right sides of the brain to exercise- they are short and sweet- no big deal.
BTW lots of kiddos can memorize sight words like McDonald's or Wal Mart but they are not reading of course- don't confuse sight words with reading phonetically ok? My son who had IQ of 132 at grade 5 could not read til 1st grade.....he now has a college degree

hugs
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Avatar_f_tn
Any update on your child?  My son is very similar and doesn't recognize colors, shapes or letters.
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535822_tn?1389452880
this is a4year old thread you may want to contact her by a note see if shes still around good luck
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Avatar_m_tn
I am concerned about my 4 y.o, she will be 5 in 4 months time. She knows very few letters and can count up to 12 but cannot put the picture of the number together with the sound of the number. She now knows No.3, but she is likely to look at 4 and say 1, and then keeps one eye on me to gauge my reaction wether it´s right or not.
I am tenacious, so I set out the lessons, and go slowly: I show her: 4, then 5. then 4, then 5. ad infintum. Again 4, then 5, and now I ask her whats the first number again - she sometimes says 4, and now the second number? She has no idea. she starts offering random numbers hoping to hit the right one. And we have said NOTHING but 4 and 5 for past 20 minutes! I am so frustrated I could scream! I think the teachers don´t notice because she imitates other children in group learning and picks up clues for the right answer, instead of memorising the shape and the name. I
I get the point of different time of learning, but not being able to memorise two words linked to two shapes? It´s hard to see as normal... anyone else with a similar issue?
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Avatar_f_tn
I am dealing with this right now, which is why I googled it (and ended up here). My four year old turns five this month, and only recognizes a handful of letters. He seems to be okay with his numbers, but I'm beside myself with frustration. I'll show him a few letters that he does know, and he'll identify them correctly. Show him one new one, and he'll repeat the name after me. Ask again, he'll get it. Show him the ones he does know, then back to the new one, he won't remember. Repeat repeat repeat, no change. *pulling hair out*  Add to this his refusal to use the toilet consistently, and this mama is going crazy. I am somewhat relieved to hear that there are others are going through the same thing.
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Avatar_m_tn
i can completely understand u...i ve a 4 y o. with similar problem...she started off as a pretty smart kid...she s gud with her rhymes n stuff bt wen it comes to recognising her abcs n numbers shes a big failure...the fact dat she even confuses d letter A sometymes jst worries me...n sometimes i jst lose my cool in front of her n then i think omg...shes jst four...its frustrating ...hav tried all possible ways to make learning fun for her...d more i try d more shes uninterested...i jst hope she ll b back on track soon...
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Avatar_f_tn
My son just turned 4, at our house we speak different language, so I was worried because he is a very shy kid that it would make it worse once he starts school, so I decided to take him for the private lessons with the preschool teacher, It took only 6 months and my son is speaking English now, and the teacher teaches him the ABC, shapes, numbers, colors. He can only count until 12, and then messes up and says 16, 19, 15 and so on, and same with the ABC and colors. Now before i started the private classes only an hour a week I was so concerned and scared I even pushed him so hard, but when i realized that my son is learning so quick I stopped pushing him more, he has improved a lot more, and they will learn.
Me and my husband were not an A students, both B students and
my son will probably not be a doctor and who knows what he will be, but
there is one thing that I will let him be a kid and let him enjoy his childhood before he starts a kindergarten...So proud of my son :)
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Avatar_f_tn
I too have noticed that my 4.25 y old only can recognize 8 letters and that although we go over the other letters over and over (sometimes just two of them), she has a very hard time remembering what they are.  I'm not really worried about it.  Seems like lots of people are having the same issue.  My daughter does things at her own pace and has always done things that way.  She's happy and giggly, can sing a tune like a song bird and has other areas that she excels in (ie  - she memorizes poems and songs faster than her 6y old sister and has some pretty awesome dance moves lol).  I'm currently working on trying to make the letters look like something (i.e. "D" has a big round belly like Daddy :) lol and that seems to be helping a little bit.  I read this site which helped ease my mind...http://magicalchildhood.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/what-should-a-4-year-old-know/
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