Is Your Child a Slow Learner? Tips to Parents to Teach and Guide them

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Every child learns at an individual pace which may differ from their age mates and is best left to learn at that pace. Unfortunately the formal education system doesn’t recognize this to a large extent and we are guilty of expecting children to learn and perform similarly. In the highly competitive arena of education, people are quick to label a child as a ‘slow learner’ if they are found to be lagging behind their peers.  The truth though maybe far from so.


In reality, a slow learner is a child whose intellectual abilities are below average (in the range of 70-85) on standardized measures of intelligence or I.Q. tests. A slow learner is NOT any child who takes a little longer to learn or one who doesn’t want to learn. Neither are they lazy. They are children who have genuine difficulty in grasping concepts faster due to their limitations in intellectual capacities.  A reluctant learner is one who is demotivated and disinterested in studies and therefore maybe performing poorly in academics whereas a slow learner may be interested in studies but unable to keep pace with classmates due to low I.Q.

Click Here to Know more about the Developmental Delay in Your Child

How do I know if my child is a slow learner?

  • Needs more time than peers and repeated explanations to learn new concepts.
  • Works slowly on tasks.
  • Has difficulty understanding abstract concepts- ex: space, feelings.
  • Shows poor reasoning skills.
  • Has difficulty in problem solving.
  • Has difficulty in organizing, generalizing or transferring information.
  • Shows difficulty in tasks having multiple steps.
  • Is unable to plan for the future by setting long term goals; focuses on here and now.
  • Is better with concrete activities. (Hands on work)
  • May have poor social skills or awkward social interactions, often unable to initiate conversations.
  • Behaves immature for age, prefers keeping company of younger children.
  • Gets anxious, frustrated or aggressive easily.


What can I expect?

If your child is diagnosed as a slow learner, expect him/her to achieve academic goals at a much slower speed. They will be able to learn better with repeated explanations, concrete examples and when information is broken down into smaller parts. Since they lack internal strategies to cope, guidance in coping with various situations is required; whether academic tasks or life scenarios. Their strength lies in doing concrete and repetitive tasks and they excel in such activities. Use this strength to explore various job opportunities across industries and accordingly train them in specific skills.

How can I support my child?

  • Keep realistic expectations from your child.
  • Don’t demoralize the child if unable to achieve expected goals.
  • Slow learners tend to have poor self image and low self esteem so it helps to encourage and praise their efforts rather than stress on outcomes.
  • Make them admission in Learning Enrichment Program (LEP) or After School Program.
  • Break down learning material into smaller chunks and simplify the language used. Focus on learning key points.
  • Provide a structured home environment. Scheduled daily tasks and activities help a slow learner feel more in control of their environment and reduce feelings of frustration.
  • Communicate with your child. Talk daily about what they did, learnt and experienced. Encourage them to express themselves.
  • Encourage your child to participate in extracurricular activities and provide opportunities to explore alternate career options. Ex: Performing arts, Sports, Baking/Cooking etc.