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What Do Kids Learn in Pre-K and Kindergarten & Can an ADHD Kindergartner Keep Up

My daughter is 4.5 and has an early October 7th birthday. She just misses the cut-off for kindergarten this year by a couple of weeks. She is entering a Pre-K this fall. She is very smart but is very auditory and much less of a visual learner (though her eyesight is 20/20). She can identify all of the letters of the alphabet (but it was very hard for her to learn them) and now we we are working on numbers. She can recognize most of the numbers between 1 and 9 except 6, 8 and 9. I started working just with these three with her and will go over 6 like 10 times, move to 8 one time and then go back to 6. She won't know 6 even though we just worked on it for 5 mins. She'll say "I don't know" or guess "13" and once she's wrong, she'll shut down. This happened when she was learning her letters as well. She was recently diagnosed with ADHD (please don't tell me she's too young to be diagnosed--we've had plenty of 2nd and 3rd opinions. She did qualify for an IEP starting next year in her Pre-K (YAY) even though she is verbally and cognitively ahead of her peers--she qualified based on her hyperactivity level, distractibility and emotional response to frustration). Does the inability to retain the numbers etc. sound like an ADHD thing, a typical 4.5 year old thing or possibly something else? I have heard that kindergarten used to be about teaching the alphabet and playing house and now most kids are learning to read.
*She is currently not on medication but it is probably going to happen in a few years.
The doc said most meds aren't approved until the child reaches 7.

What can I do next?

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Thanks Mamas. I just worry that she'll fall behind. I was always mostly an A student with the occasional B--mostly math was my challenge--by I was always in advanced reading and grammar classes, AP English, AP History and AP French. It hurts in a way I didn't expect to see my daughter struggling with things that other kids find so simple. I just assumed that she would be a good student and self-disciplined like I was. Even though she is extremely bright the school environment is not geared to the ADHD way of learning. This has been a good lesson for me in learning to deal with things that I can't relate to from personal experience and yet will have to adapt to and embrace in my child. I am dreading homework time already and it is still a few years away. :) And thanks to all the tips about keeping it interesting. I have now come up with a plan that will incorporate sparkles and jewels into helping her with numbers--these are two things that I KNOW will hold her attention!

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My friends daughter learned to read in Pre-K, my grand daughter learned to read and do addition and very simple subtraction in kindergarten. If there is a problem her teacher needs to be on top of it and it needs to be discussed in the IEP.

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It can be an ADHD thing. My son learned to read easily, and was a wiz at math. Comes time to learn his multiplication tables and OMG. We worked and worked and worked. One time he would know them, the next time he wouldn't. Later on in school, he was an algebra star. Just keep on doing what you are doing.

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My friends daughter learned to read in Pre-K, my grand daughter learned to read and do addition and very simple subtraction in kindergarten. If there is a problem her teacher needs to be on top of it and it needs to be discussed in the IEP.

2 moms found this helpful

You will be amazed at what your daughter will learn in pre-k. Before my daughter started pre-k I had trouble teaching her things. After starting pre-k, teaching her things became so much easier. She was learning a lot at school and picking up on things at home.

Good luck!

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I'm not sure if I will be able to give any great advice but my daughter who is in kindergarten also has ADHD and has had no problem keeping up with her classmates. In our case my daughter is actually beyond her peers academically but socially she is on the same level more or less. I know when she was the same age as your daughter she had a hard time with recalling things and would shut down as well but we found that after a month or so in school she was zooming beyond our expectations. Make sure you keep up on the IEP and stress the areas that you feel really need to be worked on. Thankfully for kids on IEPs summer school is offered if deviations from their current routine will cause regression. Wish you the best.

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If she's going to be in school next year, check out either Brain Balance Centers or www.interactivemetronome.com. They both will take kids who are in school. I think pre-K counts.

I know my son was reading and doing what I thought was pretty impressive math in kindergarten. We have a new school for our second son, but it sounds like he will be learning as much, if not more in his class. Both my boys new letters and numbers, as well as reading their names before starting kindergarten.

I think what you're describing sounds like ADHD related stuff. It may not be so much that she doesn't know, as she doesn't remember. My kids have both had their own learning challenges, although not ADD or ADHD. I did find drilling did no good for my kids. We just make it a game. i.e. When we go to an appointment, I tell the the number of the suite or the floor, etc., and ask them to help me find where we need to go. We do all sorts of games like that while we're out and about. It's just a fun challenge, and no problem if we don't have success. Success does eventually come, though. She may be more amenable to that type of thing instead of drilling so hard. Sorry I can't think of other examples right off. Let me know if you need more. GL!

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It could be an ADHD thing but it also sounds alot like a 4.5 year old thing. I have a 4 year old who doesn't recognize most of his alphabet and can only recognizes the numbers 1 and 4 but can say his whole alphabet and count to 20.. He is great with math and sorting, but not a great reader or memorizer. I am in Ontario, Canada and here our children start school, not pre-school but school the year they turn 4. The cut off is Dec. 31, so if they have a b-day before Dec. 31 and if they turn 4 before then they can start school. My son was actually 3 when he started junior kindergarten. He is starting to read level 1 books by decoding using the pictures. I think that medication should be held off on as well, most kids get better as they get older and you may find that she does not need it by the time she is 7. At least hopefully for everyone involved, for her and you that she gets better, because it is no fun having a diagnosis at such a young age. GL.

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She will be fine in kindergarten. I have three kids and they all learn at different paces. My first had his alphabet down super early and could read words by kindergarten but didn't take much to numbers. Then my second boy hasn't taken much to letters but has his numbers down. Then there comes my daughter who knows everything she hears but doesn't even try to recognize numbers or letters. Go figure.

In short, once kindergarten starts, kids fall in line, and if there are learning problems the teachers are great at helping you catch your child up.

I wouldn't worry too much!

Good luck!

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Hi--
I agree with everyone else on the "it's an age" thing. She'll be fine.

I hope I'm not crossing a boundary by offering the following. My background is working with ADHD kids, and I wonder: Have you ever had her tested for food/environmental sensitivities/allergies? Other symptoms would include dark circles/puffy circles under the eyes, any type of skin rash, frequent constipation (defined by not going at least once a day every day), frequent diarrhea, anger and hyperactivity, frequent sneezing/coughing/runny nose. Often time the symptoms of ADHD are caused by an allergy/sensitivity. If you treat the sensitivity you treat the ADHD. The reason allergies cause ADHD symptoms is because they cause the adrenal glands to release adrenaline. Over time this can effect hormone levels and it definitely effects behavior. There are some simple things you can try to see if they work before ever getting her tested.
Vitamin B-complex and vitamin C both lower levels of histamine in the blood and help balance the adrenal glands. Inositol (related to the b-vitamin family) calms the nervous system, supports the liver (which is were the allergy/sensitivity originates). Quercetin is a bioflavanoid found in onions that is a natural anti-histamine. All these are totally safe to give even to small infants. You could try this to see if it helps calm her down. You can also try back flower remedy's rescue remedy (in dropper and pastille form) and they make a flower remedy especially for attention. Hyland's homeopathics makes a kids homeopathic for attention issues. And wish garden makes an herbal blend (things like chamomile and hops) to assist with attention and calming the nervous system. You can get all these things at Whole foods or vitamin cottage. I've seen lots of people have great luck with all these things. I'm happy to talk to you further if you have questions about this.
Good luck!
J.

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I used to be a kindergarten teacher, so I can tell you that a lot of it is the age. The names of the letters and numbers are really ambiguous (they don't have much to do with the meaning other that what we have assigned). I wouldn't worry. Turn these sessions into games. Play games everywhere you go (ie if you see the number as you're driving, point it out). 6,8,9 often cause confusion, especially if they look similar in the font you're using. Reversals are VERY common through kindergarten, so b for d, P for 9, etc aren't something to stress over.

Kindergarten is still about teaching abc's and numbers and learning through play (at least, to be developmentally appropriate it is, some schools and teachers sadly buckle to pressure to turn it into AP kindergarten, ugh). Many kids learn to read simple c-v-c words (like pan, bed, cat) and high frequency words (I, me, you, is, and ...). This is part of the curriculum in my state. But that doesn't mean kindergarten is "learning to read." It's getting them ready.

I wouldn't worry. You've already got an IEP (good thing!). Especially with kids who have ADHD, it's important for learning to be fun and interesting, so make it a game and then relax :)

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It can be an ADHD thing. My son learned to read easily, and was a wiz at math. Comes time to learn his multiplication tables and OMG. We worked and worked and worked. One time he would know them, the next time he wouldn't. Later on in school, he was an algebra star. Just keep on doing what you are doing.

2 moms found this helpful

Low frustration tolerance, including difficulty retaining info, sounds about right for an ADHD kiddo.... Couple of thoughts. Make it a game instead of "sit down and learn time." Consider doing something outside with sidewalk chalk where she had to jump into the box with a 6, 8 or 9 and NOT in the ones with the other numbers to get to the end of the driveway. Or memory with a deck of cards so she has to match the right numbers - or something along those lines. I also worked with my son to trace his hand over the number BEFORE he is allowed to respond - otherwise he just blurts whatever comes into his head first.

She will likely do well in pre-k if the teachers are willing to work with her (my son did!). Consider working with her teachers to get her a different kind of chair (something that rocks, bounces, or swivels) that would allow her some movement to counter act needing to sit still.

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I am not an expert but I think it depends on the child and their interests! If an ADHD child is not interested it won't hold their attention, therefore no retention!

My son recently turned 4 and has been diagnosed w/ ADHD. He actually will sit still in his bed while we read him books (have been doing this since 18mo), he loves books so can even read a few words, knows how to spell his name, good w/ numbers, ect. Where he is very behind is his fine motor skills, I know writing is going to be very difficult for him because he has never had an interest in crafts, coloring, painting, which is how you learn fine motor skills! (my 2 yr old holds a pen better than he does) My feeling is ADHD can simply hinder them learning something they just aren't interested in!!! You are already on the right track w/ an IEP so they will focus on what she is struggling with! Simply stay on top of them! You're doing a great job!!!

Interestingly, my son's Psychiatrist and I have discussed starting him on medication before he begins pre-k! She said there are many options out there!

Best of luck!!! I know it can be sooooooo challenging!!!

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My younger child does not have ADHD, but she has a similar response when frustrated (shutting down). One thing you may try with numbers is having her count items. We have little colored blocks, as well as little colored bears. We worked on counting those ("count 8 bears" or "how many bears are there?"). The concept of using a symbol (8) to represent an amount of something, may be difficult at this stage but she will get it eventually. It's actually pretty normal at this age. They use a lot of manipulatives in Kinder because it's hard for most kids to understand.

1 mom found this helpful

You can help kids with ADHD with magnesium supplementation.

Magnesium oil can be put on the skin and is absorbed transdermally.

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I remember we had a Kinder teacher at our daughters elementary who had lots of the younger kindergartners in her class each year. She was great with them.

They went at a different pace at the beginning of the year, but by Thanksgiving were all on track. She also had a child with auditory learning in that class. She used a headset microphone that enhanced the sound in the room.. Not booming, just a few tones louder.. It worked great.. He had an IEP so this was part of the IEP for him.

I was always amazed the difference in such a short amount of time, but every year, she had them ready to move on to 1st grade.

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you know I don't know much about ADHD, and all are so different it seems. But I do know I am a preschool teacher, and we work on number recognition a lot. 6 8 and 9 are pretty common ones to get confused, especially at age 4, its normal for four year olds. Some have a harder time with numbers than others. Don't worry too much.

I can tell you what my son learned in Kindergarten. Learn how to say the ABC's, how to recognize the ABC's Uppercase and Lowercase, how to write Upper and Lower case letters, learn the sounds of each letter. Come up with words for a letter sound they just learned. Ex: P makes the sound "p", think of a word that makes the sound "p", "pig". At this point they will start to sound words out like c - a - t === "cat". Learn how to write their name. Learn different colors, Count to 20 in the correct order. Recognized numbers 0 - 9. Write each number. (they start off with writing letters and numbers backwards and that is okay. Ex. S will be written backwards and 3, 7, 5, will be backwards - this is normal. just to name a few - each student is different). Math - how much makes up 5 - how much makes up 3. Ex: Dominos - 3 dots means it is 3. 4 dots means it is 4 etc. Can also do with candy etc. Ask your child, please give me 3 cookies. Now you can take 1 and eat it. Books are great to have for teaching numbers, shapes, colors and letters. Learn about different shapes, square, triangle, rectangle, oval, circle, star, diamond. Shape of a pizza slice looks like a triange, shape of a cracker looks like a square. Ball looks like a circle. etc. Once they get to know how much a number is, then they start basic math. Dominos or deck of cards is good for them to count them out. Basic Addition and Subtraction using 0 - 9. A few of the sight words off of sight words 100. (ex: like, a , I, at, the) Farm animals, days of the week, Calendar months, Telling time (end of year) Read to your daughter about all of the above. Get a book and have her count all the rabbits and ask her what color is the horse. UNO is a good game to play. My kids learned their colors and numbers while playing Uno. They will start this fall in kindergarten. Also, CD's on the sounds of letters is good. Rock n Learn has good alphabet songs. We listen to it while driving in the car.

My son is 7 and has ADHD & what you describe is what he continues to have problems with. And yes, they are teaching reading in kindergarten, it seems too soon for many kids. My son started ritalin in January & it has made a HUGE difference for his reading and other things, but it has possitively impacted his reading skills. I still find that sometimes when doing his homework with him, he will still switch commonly known letters & numbers, such as d & b, 6 & 9, etc. It was much worse before medication. I think this is a common thing w ADHD kids, unfortunately! I know it's frustrating. Just know you're not alone with this!

Oh my goodness, it is like you just described my daughter, who is now 6! We are currently testing her for ADHD for similar reasons, including major distractibility. She did great in KG this year, even though she was in a full day program, which we worried about beforehand. it took her a LONG time to learn her numbers, and she still struggles writing them a bit, but they finally made sense to her this year. We struggled in the beginning of the year with "sight words" like "of" or "the." Same thing, she couldnt' remember some of them after just going over them 5 minutes before. The good news is, about half way through the year the learning really seemed to click in her brain, and she began remembering things much more easily. It sounds like you have a bright kiddo on your hands, and if she is anything like mine, it just may take a little bit longer for stuff to stick, but I bet she wil do fine! Also, her pre-K teacher will be able to give you a much better idea of where she "should" be at by the half way point of next year. Good luck!

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