Chutes and Ladders

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Andy, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Do you know (or remember) the board game Chutes and Ladders? It starts out with a square on the lower left hand corner of the board numbered "1" and zig zags up the board to the end of the game.

    So, for part of the game you are heading right and the other part you are heading left. You need to know which way to go. Then to add a twist, you land on spots that you climb a ladder to a higher level or you slide down a chute to a lower level. At the top of the ladder or the bottom of the chute, you need to know which way to go on your next turn.

    Simple enough you would think for any 14 year old.

    We were in between psychiatrist and therapist appointments the other day when difficult child found the Chutes and Ladders game in the waiting room. He set it up and proceeded to play it alone moving either his piece or mine on our given turns. He kept getting so messed up on which way to move the pieces. I told him to take a few seconds to look at the numbered square he was on and determine which way he was suppose to move (left or right) before doing so.

    At first is was a bit humorous but as he was unable to move the pieces correctly over and over again, I started to wonder what this meant for his organizational skills and following a process.

    Have any of you experienced this in your difficult child's. I have a Candy Land and a Chutes and Ladder game that I purchased for one of our friend's little girl. I am thinking about keeping the Chutes and Ladder game for difficult child to play with.

    I always said board games and card games teach a person a lot. I guess I never really thought about the details of what Chutes and Ladders teach until I watched someone who was struggling with it.
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Does your difficult child have any difficulties with math? I had to teach both my kids to follow the numbers. My difficult child struggled when he was younger with the "before and after" a given number until I started counting out loud from a number 3-4 numbers before so they remembered the sequence. He couldn't remember the numbers immdediately before and after a number without my help getting the sequence started. The other issue he had at times was that he got so focused on one going one direction in the game that he had a hard time changing directions after going up a ladder or down a chute. It is a great learning tool for math number sequencing and ordering numbers.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    When was the last time difficult child was tested for learning disabilities? in my opinion this could be a sign of any of several LDs - executive dysfunction disorder, nonverbal learning disorder, dyscalculia, etc...It is very much NOT normal for a 14yo to have trouble playing this simple game. If it was something he was able to play years ago, it may be a sign of some sort of degeneration or the increase in his disability to perform whatever processes are needed. I have what is charitably called "mixed dominance", meaning I am not strictly right or left handed, it depends more on the task (oddly, most sporting type things like golf and bowling are best left handed for me). To this day I have difficulty with right and left - in driver's ed I had to look at the arrows that came on when I moved the arm for the turn signal. I don't do north, south east or west. I simply am unable to figure it out, but I have ALWAYS been unable to.

    Your son's problems might be along the lines of that - but if the problems are new it could be a sign of some very bad changes. on the other hand, he may have been hiding this problem for a long time. I have a cousin who hid the fact that he couldn't read for four years. I have known MANY people who hid dyslexia, dyscalculia, etc... for a long time - many only learned it was something that could be helped when they got to college.

    Regardless, this is something that needs to be checked out.
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I think it's worth mentioning to his psychiatrist or pediatrician. It's one thing if he's 4, but at 14 I'd be concerned.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Definitely worth mentioning.

    For us ,the game was "Snakes and Ladders" and the ladders always went up, the snakes always down. And you could tell, because the snake's head was pointing down. And snakes are generally something children are warned about, so snakes (sliding back down) was bad. Easier to remember.

    difficult child 3 has a 3-D version of Snakes and Ladders, it's a lot of fun but takes out the guesswork - the various snakes and ladders are ramps, all angled this way and that so your marble rolls along the ramp.

    A good game to give a difficult child who needs to learn how to play a game like this is Mousetrap. A tip - always put the diver on the board facing backwards. With Moustrap, you are there helpnig him assemble the game.

    Trouble is a good game for teaching the basic turn-taking and personal strategy of moving the counter along the path. You have a total of four counters to get "home" and you can choose which way and when to move them. This gives some control to the child, which is a good thing for a child who often feels over-controlled by others. But he can watch your strategy, and discuss why you're doing it the way you are. It doesn't mater how you move your pieces - one at a time, or all at once - you still have the same number of moves. It teaches that sometimes there are more than one right answer, and personal preference is OK in such cases.

  6. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Was he self-correcting? It could be that his brain was 'set' to going in a left to right, reading, fashion. If he ended up self-correcting his mistake after a few moments I wouldn't worry. If he sat confused and still couldn't figure it out- then I would be concerned.
  7. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Thank you everyone!

    He does great in math (A's and B's) and had his neuropsychologist exam last winter. The executive dsyfunction was mentioned in the results of that exam. He is also doing well in all his classes and loves "home Easy Child" classes when they cook or sew and his "tech" class when they build so I don't think following directions is a problem as long as it continues in a straight line - it is switching gears and going a different direction that is confusing him - a transition so to speak. If you know what I mean!

    This may not be new. He did not play that game as a child but had no problem with Trouble which you always go the same direction. I loved Mousetrap as a kid and I think that is a good game to get for difficult child. He and his friends love to put things together so it may just be something he can get his buddies to play with him.

    I need to call psychiatrist in two weeks to report on the new medication changes and will report this also.

    I do think that this is a case of a lack of skill being well hidden by using other talents. If he never picked up that game in the waiting room, I would still not realize this is an issue.

    He needs to stop skipping the first step of everything - learn what the situation is, think about where you are and where you want to go and then decide how to proceed. He is proceeding without thinking and often ending in the wrong direction.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Did you play the game with him? Perhaps the interaction (maybe reinforced with you verbally casually verbalizing which way
    you have to go due to the roll) might change his focus. on the other hand, it really does sound like you happened upon a diagnostic tool
    quite by accident. Having a social game together could indicate the degree of the problem you uncovered. by the way, great eye!
    Often parents don't pay attention to "little" things that give clues to bigger issues. DDD
  9. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Thanks DDD! I do plan on keeping the game we were going to give away and play it with him to help strengthen this skill.
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Oh, that is my husband to a TEEE! He's the guy that thinks he doesn't have to read directions, or skips over a few when assembling something, and ends up with lots of spare parts! But he does fantastic as a programming/data analysis guy, where everything is LINEAR.

    Maybe it is just an executive functioning issue and there are too many things he has to juggle for that game. Still, it would be good to practice and play it!