Scholastic Backwardness


Scholastic Backwardness is one of the commonest educational problems encountered in children, and consists of the fact that the child’s performance at school falls below the expectations, i.e. according to the level of his intelligence.


Various constitutional and neurological disorders resulting in maturational lags in the sensory, motor, perceptual, and integrative mechanisms have been held responsible for the differences noted in auditory and visual discrimination, laterality, memory, thinking, the use of symbols and expressive language, which are all every essential for the learning processes.

  • Learning Disabilities
  • Emotional Disturbances
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Chronic Illness
  • Mental Retardation

Many of these factors may also be overlapping and coexistent. Apart from these, developmental disabilities such as hearing impairment, visual impairment, language disorders and environmental affects also contribute to learning difficulties in children and challenge vulnerable children further.

Risk factors for scholastic backwardness

  1. Hearing impairment
  2. Visual impairment
  3. Prematurity, low birth weight
  4. Medical factors
  5. Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Specific learning disability
  • ADHD
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Slow Learners

Mental Retardation

Children with Mental Retardation have a significantly sub average general intellectual functioning, with low IQ below 70. There is a generalized learning deficit differing from specific learning disability such as dyslexia, which is significant in severity. Such children also exhibit impairments in adaptive behavior, self care and communication and mobility. The prevalence of Mental Retardation is 3% of the general population. Most children with MR are recognized before the first years of school. The common genetic causes of MR include Down’s syndrome, Fragile X, and Klinefelter’s Syndrome. Whatever the etiology, all of them cause varying degrees of impairment in language development, short term memory deficits, low attention span and behavioural problems and a severe learning difficulty.

Risk factors / causes of learning disabilities

Medical risk factors

  • Prematurity and sequelae
  • Low birth weight
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Congenital Infections
  • Malignancies / radiation and chemotherapeutic effects
  • Lead poisoning
  • Subclinical seizures

Genetic and endocrine disorders

  • Turner syndrome
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Williams Syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Klinefelter’s syndrome
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • PKU

Medication Effects

  • Methyxanthines
  • Corticosteroids
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antihistamines
  • Ethanol and recreational drugs

Neurodevelopmental disorders

  • Specific Learning disability
  • ADHD
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Speech and Language disorders
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Mental Retardation

Emotional Disorders

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood Disorders
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Other psychiatric disorders

Environmental Factors

  • Lack of activation, role models
  • Uninteresting curricula, rote learning
  • Poor study skills
  • Language barrier education in English medium schools
  • Poor socio economic conditions

Language Disorders

Autism spectrum disorders