Is My Child a Slow Learner?
Slow is a relative term because you have to compare something or someone to the “average.” Moreover, slow might just mean different because kids learn in different ways and at their own pace.
We parents are biased when it comes to the assessment of our children’s abilities. We find it hard to know if our kids are slow learners or gifted ones. Instead of relying on our experiences and expectations when looking at our kids, perhaps a better way is to talk with our children’s teachers and consult a speech therapist (if there are language and communication difficulties) or a psychologist. These professionals could step back and properly assess our children’s abilities and difficulties.
What can you do as a parent?
“Is my child a slow learner?” has always been a tough question to ask. But having a more accurate assessment would help us figure out what’s best for our children and how can we help them become successful despite their difficulties.
For example, a tailored teaching program can be prepared for our kids. This personalisation can have a better focus on their specific difficulty (e.g. trouble spelling common words, difficulty in expressing themselves, finding it hard to grasp instructions). This way they won’t fall behind and we even give them a chance to keep up or get ahead because of the tailored instruction.
Aside from an early assessment and a tailored teaching program, it also helps to adjust our expectations. We parents got older witnessing how a learning disability puts people far from success. Good thing is that there are people who became successful despite having a learning difficulty (e.g. Lindsay Fox, Jessica Watson). Also, times have been better now where it’s possible to even make a disability an advantage. For instance, people with dyslexia require a lot more time and focus to grasp concepts and understand what is being read. This then teaches them the value of discipline, hard work and persistence. In addition, people with dyslexia or other learning difficulty can better focus on other pursuits where their limitations won’t be a problem anymore (e.g. acting, arts, visual learning, public speaking).
The first step then is to determine if our kids indeed have a learning difficulty (consult the teacher, speech therapist or psychologist) so that we can take actions promptly. This way, we can immediately help our kids become successful and build their confidence as they go through formal schooling, career, business and beyond.