There was a heated debate on the radio this early evening while I was driving home from work. It is so sad that some of us can easily label a child as ‘loser’, ‘dumb’ or some other negative comments. It happens a lot with children who are slow learners or find it difficult to carry out certain tasks which children of their age group will do with ease. These are things we need to avoid especially when you are a parent or teacher. It affects the life of a child a lot.

Children are very sensitive and may take such feedback about them when they grow up. Such negative feedback may affect the child’s learning process and may make them believe they are ‘dull’, ‘dumb’, or a ‘loser’. 

Not everybody was born with the same capabilities. Even you reading may have something you are good at which I can find great difficulties in adapting to. People have different talents and find it difficult to learn what they are not very talented in. I believe everyone is a slow learner in something.

Most parents think when their child is a slow learner, they are incompetent or are not trying hard enough. They find it difficult to accept that their child is just finding it difficult to do that specific task. 

As parents or teachers, we need to understand that slow learners take a little more time than others to pick up certain things. It takes commitment to groom such a child. In effect, the child takes more time in hitting the basic developmental stage, unlike those of his age bracket.

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I believe in the saying ‘the end justifies the means’.

I’ve met a lot of people who were considered ‘dumb’ in certain things but finally ended up being masters of that same thing. I had a classmate who faced a lot of difficulties pronouncing words in French. In fact he understood nothing in French.

The French teacher was a nightmare to him because his arrival meant he would be laughed at by his mates. Surprisingly, he ended up with a master’s degree in French Literature and is presently teaching French to foreigners.

The above is just one of the many cases of slow learners who ended up being masters of what many thought they couldn’t do. Most of them took it as a challenge to do better. Some of them were encouraged just like my classmate above.

A friend of mine told me his story of how he ended up having a degree in Economics. When he was in secondary school, he was the only person who failed the first test in Economics. He was laughed at by the whole class. The worst part of it is that his best friend laughed him the most. With the anger in him, he turned and told his friend “I will teach you Economics”.

That was how he ended up becoming the best Economics student in his school. His utterances to his friend came out to be fulfilled.

The two stories are a proof that slow learners are not necessarily ‘dumb’, ‘losers, or ‘weak’. Some of them may have specific learning disabilities. Others may need a non-threatening and safe learning environment or just a little encouragement to pick up.

Some of these slow learners may be courageous enough to take it as a challenge. Most successful slow learners will tell you they picked up because they wanted to challenge the status quo given to them by society.

Do you know of any slow learner who picked up or who stood up to say no to all the negative name-calling? Are you one? You can share your story in the comments section below. It may encourage or help some parents or teachers to take it lightly on slow learning children.