Difficulties children face in academic learning: Dr. Sumit Shinde

Dr Sumit Shinde

In today’s classroom scenario of 50 children; 10 are achievers and get above average marks, 20 get average marks, 15 get below average marks and remaining 5 are under achievers. But if we see the Intellectual functioning of average and below average children, it is almost same. Then what is responsible for their lags in academic performance. Let’s have an overview.

External factors affecting child’s Academic Learning:

  1. Language barrier: Many children of poverty groups enter our schools with little or no previous relevant language experience in the use of formal English language-the language of classroom. In our country, maximum families use the regional language as a mode of communication, thinking and interactions. Children belonging to such families can relate almost everything in their own mother tongue but when it comes to English as an academic language, their maximum mental energy is consumed in understanding English than in learning concepts.
  2. Socioeconomic grouping: When it comes to discrepancy in socio-economic strata in children studying in the same class, the low socio-economic background children compare their belongings and their attitudes with high socio-economic strata friends, causing greed, inferiority resulting in to diversion from academics.
  3. Educational awareness of parent: Many parents give more importance to day to day studying, homework, class work, appearing for exams and getting good scores rather than working on the child’s academic concepts and basics. Also, parents do not bother about child’s weaknesses during early childhood in studies because of no retention policy in schools.
  4. Parental expectations: Many a times, children’s abilities aren’t appreciated as they don’t match with parents’ higher expectations. For example, child does very well and enjoys languages, elocution and oration but his parents want him to do well in science and mathematics as they want him to become an Engineer in future.

Parents most of the time pin point the errors made by the child due to which few children may lose interest from academics in a long run.

  1. Digitalization: The growing addiction to social media, technology and gadgets is diverting the youth from conventional academics in an early stage.

There are certain children who come from a very educated and dedicated parenting background but yet lack in the academics due to some internal factors affecting their grasping such as:

  1. Learning disabilities: a child who is not able to cope with academic expectations even after having appropriate intellectual functioning might be facing learning disability. Following are the types of learning disabilities:
  • Dyslexia: Reading difficulty
  • Dysgraphia: Writing difficulty
  • Dyscalculia: Difficulty in Mathematics
  • Dyspraxia: Difficulty in Motor skills


  1. Intellectual difficulties: As the name suggests, few children lack in mental processing called as intellectual functioning.

As per IQ chart:

I Q Range IQ classification Academic learning ability
131 and above Very superior Very good in multiple areas of education
121-130 Superior Very good in multiple areas of academics
111-120 Above average Good in multiple areas of academics
90-110 Average Average in academic performance
80-89 Below average(slow learner) Takes time to learn study material & difficulty in handling multiple subjects, needs one to one
70-79 Borderline(slow learner) Takes lots of time to understand simple concepts, very slow in overall academic performance
50-70 Mild intellectual dysfunction Tasks can be trained but academic concepts cannot be learned
Below 50 Moderate to severe category Can be trained for self care to live independently

Slow learners (IQ=70-90) show poor understanding of concepts, language and arithmetic skills.  Because of low mental processing and lack of generalization ability, they are not able to process & understand the information so may show forgetfulness.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders: Children with ADHD show the following features

  • Child is not able to concentrate at task or may show distractibility
  • Difficulty in understanding commands in one go
  • Constant fidgeting, restlessness
  • Not sitting at one place, roaming in class
  • Pushing, hitting other kids
  • Climbing, running without fear
  • Over talkativeness
  • Negative behaviors

Scholastic backwardness:

Children who do not come into the criteria of intellectual dysfunction, learning disabilities, ADHD but yet show learning issues due to underlying perception and higher function dysfunctions needs to be addressed differently

Anxiety: Due to lack of decision making, problem solving abilities some children do not want to perform a given task and they develop fear of failure.


To understand academic difficulties with internal dysfunctions, there is a need of thorough assessment (subjective and objective) of cognition, higher functions, Academic skill development and behaviors based on which multidisciplinary team of professionals works towards appropriate habilitation.

Team of professionals who should work with parent and child are:

  1. Occupational therapist
  2. Psychologists and psychiatrists
  3. Remedial educators
  4. Physiotherapy and speech therapy

Academic issues are often labeled as behaviors in children rather than dysfunctions. Parents mostly compare their children with other performing children. Children with learning disabilities, ADHD if not identified in earlier stages, later become a chronic irreversible condition.

Dr. Sumit Shinde: Occupational Therapist and Rehabilitation Consultant Managing Director – Child Rehabilitation Centre & Child Learning Centre

After 10 years of experience in the field of Pediatric Rehabilitation, Dr. Sumit Shinde, a renowned occupational therapist has started sharing his wisdom with the parents with regards to Child Development. He exclaims that parent is the best therapist hence has the belief of empowering all the parents with the required expertise. A relentless performer, who works 100+ hours/week even today, was not fond of children during his initial days. But as it is said, “Everything is already planned” Dr. Sumit Shinde has reached the milestone where he is standing at present. Modest is the doctor with a charismatic personality; who has a team of doctors accompanying him always. Enthusiastic is the word you can use when a person completes more than 60,000 individual sessions & has transformed a herd of egg lets to become chics. He runs his beliefs in two different centers – Child Rehabilitation Centre & Child Learning Centre with branches spread across Navi Mumbai. A person who gives justice to his field of practice by actually applying the meaning of his profession & transforming it into his vision of “Seeing every Child Independent in the future”.



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