Understanding the Difference Between Being a Slow Learning and Being Learning Disabled

Pre School Programs McKinney TX

As a parent, it’s natural to assess your child’s ability to learn in both formal and informal settings. Assuming you want the best for your children, understanding their strengths, weaknesses, and preferred style of learning is imperative to their progression and growth. It’s something that the skilled and dedicated teachers at Heritage Learning Academy in McKinney, TX, help parents with every day, by closely watching and reporting the educational progress our students make.

If you feel like your child operates slightly below the average learning curve, it pays to take the time to investigate and understand the potential cause and extent of their deficiencies. In most cases, it’s difficult to recognize the difference between a naturally slow learner and someone who struggles with a learning disability.

The only justification for assessing and labeling a child’s ability to learn is to ensure an adequate level of attention, service, and support is available to mark improvements and forward progress. The learning needs of these two groups are distinctively different, so it’s critically important to identify the condition before seeking assistance. That said, understand that labels have no bearing on the character and intentions of your child. They are solely used to identify the most suitable programming needs.

By definition, a slow learner is a child with a slightly underdeveloped level of intelligence for their age. In most cases, children who are slow learners experience the same developmental stages as typical learners, just at a moderately slower pace. This development, while slower, still equates to the same relative level of intelligence.

On the other hand, a child with a learning disability usually maintains a fairly average or above-average level of intelligence. Children with specific learning disabilities fall short because their disabilities prevent them from accomplishing what they are naturally capable of achieving.

In most cases, basic learning deficiencies correlate with inadequate central nervous system functioning. A well-functioning central nervous system promotes the acquisition of primary listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, and mathematical skills. The mastery of these skills often determines your child’s natural ability and level of functioning.

Whether that be paying attention, internalizing information, controlling motor functioning, or impulse control and sequencing, the central nervous system usually determines a child’s potential and level of actual achievement.

The following list of characteristics should aid in making a solid distinction between the two conditions.

Slow Learner:

  • Underdeveloped language patterns or speech problems.
  • Poor judgment and immature social behavior.
  • Naturally attracted to younger children.
  • Difficulty remembering or understanding several steps in a task.
  • Seeks to link old information to new information.
  • Struggles transferring information learned in one situation to other situations.

Learning Disabled:

  • Dislikes reading and struggles to understand the differences between words and letters.
  • Experiences perceptual-motor difficulties and struggles to pay attention.
  • Faces emotional instability and struggles to learn by way of ordinary methods.
  • Grapples with hyperactivity and poor concentration.

This documentation is, by no means, a comprehensive and complete diagnosis guide,  however, hopefully, some light has been shed on the differences and particularities of slow learners and those with learning disabilities.

For more information on childhood education or helping those with learning disabilities, contact Heritage Learning Center in McKinney, TX today! Our experienced staff will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

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