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Parenting a Child with LD or ADHD

Does this sound familiar?


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Joined: Sep 13, 2012
Posts: 4
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Posted Sep 13, 2012 at 1:17:13 PM
Subject: Does this sound familiar?

Dear community. I'm new here so I apologize if I do or say something wrong. I'm not asking anyone to diagnose my child over the internet, but I'd be very grateful if anyone could help point me in the right direction.

Our 6 year old daughter just entered the first grade, and my wife and I are concerned (have always been concerned) about her learning ability.

Here's her history.

At age 2 she seemed to be be slow in developing language. We weren't too concerned, as we had adopted her from China at age 14 months - so lots of language changes. Just about the time we decided to have her tested by the early intervention program in NY, she suddenly began to blossom in that area. They said she was behind, but not enough to qualify for EI. Pretty soon she was talking up a storm.

As she got a little older, just prior to entering Kindergarten, she also seemed slow to recognize and remember letters and their sounds. We weren't as concerned with her level, as with her apparent inability to remember something one minute after practicing it 10 times in a row. We were having no luck, but actually the hooked-on-phonics program seemed to help (or maybe it was the start of Kindergarten, or just her own development stage). Again, once she got it, she got it. She similarly had trouble with numbers.

Now in first grade, she once again seems to be struggling with what I would consider pattern recognition in words in what should become "sight words" - words that are short and common, but do not necessarily phonetically match their letters. She has a number of sight words down, but seems to have blocks up against others.

For some words that are phonetically straight forward, she can sound out the letters in order but then not come up with the word. Other simple words that are slightly phonetically different from their letters she can sound out but then not come up with the nearby actual word. She doesn't seem to be able to store the pattern for recall and we both get very frustrated - which is not helpful. For example, the other day we were working on the word "was". She worked out the sounds and came up with a word that rhymed with "mass." Good! We tried this little memorization game by spelling the word, looking at the word and saying the word "was" about 10 times in a row, then I interspersed it every other word for a few and she seemed to have it. I tried a few (3 or 4) other words that she knew and came back to "was" and it was like the first time she saw it: she sounded it out, got to a word that rhymed with "mass" and couldn't get to "was", even though we had gone through the exact same exercise less than one minute before.

Maybe this is just from the stress of wanting to please me. But we have seen this sort of behavior so often. She just seems to be having trouble remembering these connections. I'm probably a terrible teacher too.

There are so many things that she seems to to so well (better than her peers), yet other things she struggles so much with. Her penmanship is amazing - very consistent and far better than my chicken scratch. She doesn't reverse letters and only rarely has trouble distinguishing between b and d. She's very strong and coordinated in gross motor skills. She could do monkey bars at age 4 (a full year earlier than her athletic older sister), does great handstands and cartwheels, ice skates and all manner of things that require skill. However her hand-eye coordination is not so great, and she is frequently "clumsy." Often knocking over cups or having other small accidents.

She seems to have a good memory for events, but not so much for faces or names of people we don't see often. She's usually very shy of new people and new places (like camp or new classroom) but typically get's over that in a few days. When she is feeling intimidated by something or someone new, her comfort zone is to grab her parent tight and hide her face.

As an impartial observer, I see what appears to be some kind of difficulty with pattern recognition or pattern remembering and maybe also some short-term memory access difficulties. I'm not really sure where to go from here, or how to help her with her learning without either of us getting frustrated - which is highly counter-productive.

Well. Thanks for reading. If you see a pattern here that you recognize or have any advice, I'd love to hear it.

Thanks.

-JJ


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JJ
Joined Sep 13, 2012
Posts: 4

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Posted:Sep 13, 2012 1:23:00 PM

I meant to say as a "partial" observer. Obviously, as her parent, I'm very partial :-) Though I try to be as impartial as I can.

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eoffg
Joined Sep 28, 2011
Posts: 100

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Posted:Sep 14, 2012 5:27:27 AM

Hi JJ and welcome here,

I would pick up on where she read 'was', she came up with a word that rhymed with 'mass'.
Children begin by learning the letters of alphabet, and the names for each of them and the sounds that they make.
So that they learn the sounds of letters 'w', 'a', 's'.

But if you put the 'sounds' of those letters together, w/a/s ?
It will sound like a word that rhymes with mass.
So I wonder if when she looks at a word, whether she is trying to put the sounds of letters together, to form the word?

Where it is not uncommon for children to have the confused idea, that if we put the sounds of the letters together, they will form the word.
So perhaps this is what she is trying to do, when reading?

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JJ
Joined Sep 13, 2012
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Posted:Sep 18, 2012 12:58:20 PM

Hi eoffg,

My daughter seems to get and apply the basics, but then can't seem to make or retain the connections she needs to progress.

She's now good at knowing most phonetic sounds. However, for some phonetically spelled words, while she can make all of the phonetic sounds she cannot then not string them together to produce the correct phonetic whole word. Instead she'll spit out a similar word that she knows (I can't recall an actual example that she used but something like: "b" , "o" , "x" - "because"). For other words, she can string the sounds together to come up with a correct phonetic whole - but if the word is not non phonetically pronounced, she can't seem to remember the connection to actual word - even when the word is very close in sound and the connection was very recently reinforced (like in the wass/was example). That's the one thing that is most troubling to us - that you can spend five minutes going over the connection until she seems to get it, and then literally thirty seconds later, she won't be able to make that connection.


So she's clearly doing the right thing, and that's great, but can't seem to make (remember) the required leap. This is almost exactly analogous to how she learned letter names and letter sounds. She had a hard time learning to match the letter shape to it's name. Then when she knew all the letters and could identify them, she had a hard time remembering what sound they made - even for letters that had that sound at the beginning of their name. She seems to come up to these road blocks that she can't get past and which are very frustrating. So far she has made it past these road blocks but I can never really pinpoint how this happens.

It really looks like some kind of trouble making/retaining required connections - at least in the short term.

-JJ

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JJ
Joined Sep 13, 2012
Posts: 4

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Posted:Sep 19, 2012 8:26:07 AM

As I poke around more, I wonder if my daughter has some kind of shot-term (working) memory deficit.

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eoffg
Joined Sep 28, 2011
Posts: 100

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Posted:Sep 20, 2012 5:57:30 AM

Hi JJ,
Going back to her slowness to recognize and remember letters, and their sounds?
If you show her pictures of familiar objects, can she tell you the name of the object quickly?
So that if she can, then she doesn't have a problem with associating and recalling a sound with a visual image.

Though you wrote that she had similar trouble with numbers?
Where the difference with letters and numbers, is that they are just symbols.
So I wonder if she understands how we use these abstract symbols to represent sounds and quantities?
If she makes sense of these symbols ?

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