How to Help a Child who is a ‘Slow’ Learner
By Tolefe Ken-Iwatuje
Do you have a child who is a ‘slow’ learner! Does the word ‘slow’ in this context sound familiar? This is one complaint most mums have and it has everything to do with their child’s learning pace.
As with all things children Patience is required. But, parents need not to be embarrassed about their child’s learning pace but instead determine how to help the child attain his or her true potential.
Secondly, I would like to express my dislike for the term “slow” learner.
When we say ‘slow’ we are telling the child you are “not good enough” and here by giving them permission to give up even before trying.
But, this is not to say that there are no children who may require help with learning.
Let’s just keep at the back of our minds that if you tag a person a particular name they may just become that.
Let’s see if we can ascertain for real who a slow learner is because it is difficult to determine if a child isnt learning because the child can’t or because he chooses not to.
Here are a few questions you need to ascertain if your child is a ‘slow’ learner
-Does the child reach all infant and toddler milestones later than the average child on a CONSISTENT basis?
These milestones include crawling, walking speech and motor skills such as jumping, climbing, skipping etc.
*Does the child have trouble concentrating (all children have short attention span). But those who have trouble concentrating for more than two to three minutes at a time AND are unable to recall what they learnt without instructions or prompts are likely to need special attention.
* Does the child have difficulty retaining what has been learnt? This for me is a definite indicator of a child with learning difficulty. Our focus here should be on finding how to work with the disability to make it less of an issue.
* A child who is socially immature or reclusive are labeled ‘slow’ and will either notice for a fact that they learn at a different pace or be singled out by teachers or peers or siblings as ‘slow.’
This can be humiliating and embarrassing to anyone. So as a result their self-confidence and self-esteem suffer. Consequently, these children become withdrawn in an effort to shield themselves from the pain and embarrassment.
It is our responsibility as parents of children with learning challenges to SLOW things down for them.
-Lets give them permission to do their best and patiently nurture them till they reach their potential.
-Provide them with an environment and tools necessary to excel.
Look at it this way if your child was gifted at any skill let’s say music, won’t you do all in your power to make sure the child excels and develops to the fullest of such a potential?
No child deserves any less
You can help a child who is a slow learner by:
* Creating a study area in your home and keeping all distractions to the barest minimum.
*Keep homework very minimal because of the attention span.
*Help in this context doesn’t mean do the work …it means be available give clues, explain again and again (remember the goal of education should be understanding concepts and not passing exams).
* Find out how best your child learns find materials that can help.
*Ask what the child thinks.
*Read to your child
* Be patient and consistent
*Don’t accept the ‘slow’ label for your child.
- Seek help find the way that works best for you.
Above all, always remember that every Child is unique.