If your child is struggling to meet his goals at school, chances are that he might be a slow learner. In which case, here are some things you should never do.
By Leena Ghosh
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein
Well, this famous physicist and Nobel Prize winner, knew where his genius lay and worked towards it. Eventually, he was able to make remarkable contributions to the world in the field of science. But, do you know that Einstein was, reportedly, a slow leaner. He learnt to speak later than usual, and his worried parents even took him to a doctor to see what was wrong with him. You see, even this genius had to face early setbacks in learning. So, fret not if your child shows symptoms of being a slow learner or is taking more time to meet his milestones. It does not mean he will have to struggle for the rest of his life.
However, an important thing to note here is that just because your child is a slow learner does not mean she is suffering from a learning disability. There is a difference.
According to The Specific Learning Difficulties Association of South Australia, ‘A slow learner is a child of below average intelligence, whose thinking skills have developed significantly more slowly than the norm for his/her age. This child will go through the same basic developmental stages as other children but will do so at a significantly slower rate’. A child with a learning difficulty however may be facing a problem with certain learning functions like listening, reading, writing, speaking or reasoning, which might be making the process of learning difficult for her. She may have average or above average IQ for her age and yet be falling behind because of these difficulties.
Essentially, a slow learner has a problem with the pace of learning while a child with a learning disability faces a problem with a specific learning skill. However, both children, whether slow learners or those with learning disabilities, need more patience and encouragement from their parents.
Here are some things you should not do, as a parent, if your child is a slow learner:
Each child learns differently, and these differences must be acknowledged and supported by his parents. However, a child with specific learning disabilities is one of average or above-average intelligence and need not be labelled a slow learner with below-average intelligence. Disorders in psychological processes may manifest in an inability to read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations. It is important for parents to recognise the difficulty and seek appropriate remedial help. Empathising with children and nurturing their talents will go a long way in helping them succeed.
- Suchithra Seethapathy, Psychologist, Motivational Speaker and Special Needs Consultant
Don’t let your child be defined by his learning capacities. He may have other skills, which you need to note and encourage. He might be an environmental warrior or a very loving and caring child who loves to help others. After all, success is not always about what you achieve but what you manage to become despite your failures.
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