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Why does my child reverse numbers?

It’s not uncommon for parents to notice their child reversing numbers while learning to write. This can lead to concerns about dyslexia, but in many cases, it’s something that the child will grow out of. Typically, children may reverse numbers up to around age 7 as they develop their fine motor skills and spatial awareness.

Addressing Number Reversals

When children with dyslexia approach writing numbers, they may feel overwhelmed by a blank piece of paper. They often start forming numbers from the bottom to the top, using the bottom of the paper as their ‘ground.’ This can lead to confusion between numbers like 6 and 9, as the gross motor movements for these shapes are similar.

Practical Tips

One helpful strategy is to engage in gross motor activities to reinforce number formation. Have the child draw the number with their finger on the parent’s back, guiding them through the correct movements. For example, when drawing a 5, start in the upper left corner, go down and around, and then add a hat on top. If a mistake is made, parents can draw the number on the child’s back and have them try again, reinforcing the connection between movement and number formation.

Encouraging children to start at the top of the paper when writing numbers, such as starting at the top and drawing a line down for the number 1, can also help. Additionally, incorporating multisensory activities like tracing numbers in sand or shaving cream can reinforce learning and make it more engaging for the child.

By understanding the reasons behind number reversals and implementing these strategies, parents can support their child’s development and confidence in math skills.

MFM Authors

Jennie Miller

Jennie Miller

Marketing Assistant

is our Marketing Assistant and content creator here at Made for Math. Jennie loves being part of a company that is working to make mathematics accessible to children with dyscalculia.