# Does my child have poor concentration or poor performance?

The son of our reader often twists the numbers when doing arithmetic. The mother asks: Does the child have problems concentrating or is there a partial lack of performance behind it? Our experts disagree.

Full concentration: You can practice working carefully and yet quickly.

## Parent question: Does my child have poor concentration or poor performance?

I have a question about concentration and attention or whether there is something else behind it. My son mixed up (but not always – only again and again) the numbers. For example, there is 65 – then it can happen that if he z. B. in the test in a hurry – instead of 65 registered the number 56 and takes this as the basis for calculation. For example, 65: 7 – then results in 8, since he assumes or calculates 56: 7 in the head. If you point this out to him, he will recognize it immediately.

Is it a problem of concentration or can it be one "Part inefficiency" – only one "light" but still, behind it? If yes, which? And what are you testing for? Is the concentration behind it, how can you support the child in a supportive way??

### Susanne Egert, psychologist: researching the causes step by step

© Susanne Egert First of all my question: You don’t write anything about your son’s age, I guess he is in 2nd or 3rd grade, right? In fact, can be behind "Confound" , that you observed with your son hide various things.

To track down the causes and the right ones "countermeasures" to develop, you should exclude things step by step. Let us take this path together!

Begin: First of all, as a precaution, I would ophthalmologist have her son’s eyesight checked. Even if it is unlikely that the reason lies here: better is better! If you have short or far-sightedness, wear glasses if necessary.

Step 2: If he only confuses numbers or it can also be letters, punctuation marks or arithmetic characters? It may take longer to correctly capture an image, such as. the hidden objects in picture books?

That could be behind it: weak perception

Some children need e.g. a little longer until you can distinguish foreground and background on one picture. However, if you no longer look at it, you do not grasp everything that is shown and do not perceive the details. It doesn’t have to be a perceptual disorder, maybe one cognitive impairment.

This can help: Train visual perception

The one can train visual perception through appropriate exercise programs, but also more playful, e.g.. "I can see what you can not see", or describe a picture and let the other paint it afterwards, "Differix", "look closely" etc. It can also be useful train that the child looks longer e.g. for tasks in the math book.

3rd step: You write that he doesn’t always make these mistakes, he makes them only when he’s in a hurry. Are there other situations in which this also occurs? And are there situations in which this certainly does not happen?

That could be behind it: Impulsive temperament

This can help: Exercise self-control and watch closely

Like adults, children have different personalities and temperaments, some of which are inherited. Has a child excessive temperament, is very lively and spontaneous, "first runs across the street and then looks to see if a car is coming", it will be overlooked little things.

If then one of the other points is added, arise through "fluffiness" easily mistakes. In that case it would be important, to give the child a longer look, to teach him to check again and again. The child should also be encouraged to keep saying to themselves: "I stay calm and look closely at the task!" It learns to control itself.

Step 4: How does he react to time pressure? Does he get hectic and agile or can’t get him upset??

That could be behind it: Blockages through pressure and fear

Her son is under pressure, afraid of missing something or not being able to do it. "The others start playing soccer without me" etc. But fear blocks thinking. If one of the other points is added, the work becomes more and more superficial.

You can do that: anti-stress training

In anti-stress training or elements of it, you can learn to control yourself, but to work quickly but not hectically, because it only takes longer. You can do that give yourself instructions how: "I work on one task at a time." or "I concentrate entirely on my task."

Relaxation training can also be helpful, in which you learn to relax consciously when you realize that you are too hectic. Something like that is offered by the health insurance companies or the adult education centers. Your son could also be very practical, for example make an appointment with friends before homework to find them when he’s done.

Step 5: Has your son content difficulties in mathematics? Can he (depending on his age) pay e.g. sort by size if you want it to line up (like a ruler without numbers)?

That could be the reason: weakness in arithmetic

The child may have a weakness in arithmetic (dyscalculia). The child has difficulty handling numbersr, because it has not yet developed any idea of ​​smaller and larger, no visual representation of a set belonging to a number (such as recording the number of points straight away on a cube), etc. Nobody can do anything for such weakness , it has nothing to do with laziness or lack of intelligence.

You can do that: get checked for dyscalculia

You can be the child have it checked for dyscalculia and, if necessary, exercise with the child, in which the number concept is built up and many other basics are made up. But building with Lego also automatically promotes this area, because the child learns as a matter of course that the stone with 4 buttons is half the size of the stone with 8 or in other words, two 4-piece stones fit on an 8-piece, etc..

Aim: We have reached the finish line. On our way you have probably found out what applies to your son and what does not. Maybe just try out some suggestions and see how far that helps.

### Falko Stolp, headmaster: No need to worry

© Falko Stolp Right at the start I would like to give the all-clear: In my opinion, there is no partial weakness. This confusion of tens and one often occurs in schoolchildren.

One of the main reasons in my opinion is the way of speaking. Your child is in the school phase, where it has to write words and numbers. This means, among other things, that it must put what it hears in a typeface. And that happens to us from left to right. When a word is heard, it gradually writes the letters one after the other. The child now does exactly the same with numbers.

And suddenly there is an exception that the order of speaking is changed for the ones and tens. Fifty-six: I hear the six first and then the five, but first I have to write the five. For this reason there are also people who only write the six in the number 56 and put the five in front of it.

Rationally speaking, the way of speaking is wrong. Maybe one should have changed that in the last spelling reform. A look at other countries shows that there is a different or "more sensible" approach. For example, in English, Italian and Russian, the order is followed. Speech and spelling are identical.

In France, funnily enough, small “arithmetic tasks are still being tackled" in the larger numbers. The number 85 is spoken as "4 times 20 + 5". There is a similar problem with left-writing children. They often write the numbers in reverse.

I also advise serenity here. It is more important that your child does not lose the fun of math. Just keep practicing and don’t overestimate mistakes that often occur. Learning with music like the following song helps and is fun.