Dr. Latha Devarajan, Principal Investigator
Dr. Dolphin, Homoeopathic consultant
Dr. Delna Tarapore, Homoeopathic consultant
Dr Savitha, Homoeopathic consultant
Dr Amrutha, Homoeopathic consultant
Dr. M. L. Dhawale Memorial Homoeopathic Institute, Bangalore
Dr. Prashant Tamboli, Homoeopathic consultant
Head, Dept. of Research & MIS
Dr. M. L. Dhawale Memorial Trust, Mumbai
Corresponding Author and Address:
Dr. Latha Devarajan,
Dr. M. L. Dhawale Memorial Homoeopathic Institute
No 135, 4th main, Anjenynagar, Banashankari 3rd stage, Bangalore 560085
Academic performance constitutes an important bench mark in evaluating a child’s progress. Children with an IQ in range of 70 to 90 show difficulties in reading, comprehension, writing, vocabulary, grammar and mathematics, self esteem, social skills and deficient memory systems. Such children are said to be slow learners.
The key management of slow learners lies in identification, diagnosis and prompt intervention; remedial and non remedial. The standard line of treatment for slow learners is open schools or vocational training .Homoeopathy literature has shown that the condition of slowness can be improved.
A one year pilot study was conducted in three rural schools of Bangalore Rural and Ramnagar districts by the Dr. M. L. Dhawale Memorial Homoeopathic Institute, Bangalore to explore the role of Homoeopathic medicines in slow learners. Children under treatment have shown encouraging results in academic performance, especially reading comprehension and maths and improvement in self esteem and social skills. These encouraging results should be followed up through a carefully designed research study.
Key words: slow learner, Homoeopathic therapy, non remedial interventions
Slow learner is a category of students which is neglected by the society at large. We are prone to categorize children into neat divisions of normal or mentally retarded. The grey shade is forgotten sand the group of children who are neither completely normal nor distinctly mentally retarded are not recognized and hence uncared for. These are the slow learners.
Slow learner is a term used to describe the child whose learning in all areas is delayed as compared to a child in the same chronological age. Slow learner is not a single disorder but is composed of six disabilities occurring in various combinations. The disabilities comprise of reading, writing, comprehension, vocabulary, maths and social skills. Several biological and environmental factors act as causative and maintaining factors to produce various grades of difficulties in cognitive, communicative and efficient functioning thereby lowering the self esteem of a child.
Intelligence quotient (IQ) is used for classification of the disease. According DSM and the Indian IQ scale, children falling in the range of 71 to 84 are called as slow learners1.
Slow learners comprise up to 7% of the school-going population and a few studies have been conducted to identify their problems.2,3 But, a substantial number of cases remain undetected as by and large the detection of these problems by parents and teachers is ‘accidental’. Usually, the problem is noticed when the child fails to cope up with the school work especially at the secondary level. During the last decade or two there has been an increasing awareness amongst teachers and hence identification of children with slowness in learning has started increasing. Diagnosing cases in vernacular medium from rural part of India is still a major challenge as there are no special facilitates such as Clinical psychologist or psychometric assessment. To diagnose slow learner, a multidisciplinary team comprising of paediatrician, clinical psychologist, and counsellor is required4. Such teams are rarely available and hence the problem seems to be much larger than what the actual prevalence suggests.
The problems of slow learners is not only restricted to their academic development but also affects the child’s self esteem. Slow learners have been reported to experience severe emotional distress, lose their self-esteem, and by adolescence are at risk to develop mood and conduct disorders5.
Slow learners have an impaired ability to deal with abstract or symbolic material, i.e. language, numbers and concepts which are very limited and the reasoning in practical situations is inferior to that of average students6. These children require special care and attention. These special requirements are fulfilled through Remedial education. It plays an important role in teaching the child complex concepts in a simple way. Providing Remedial education is the standard treatment modality that is universally accepted. However, the availability of such a facility in the vernacular medium of rural India is remote. Therefore in this study this therapy was not included.
Slow learners cannot be equated with any other form of academic backwardness as in these children there is slowness in understanding and processing of information. This is not a disease arising out of any structural abnormality of a specific part of the brain. Therefore we can say that the whole brain and its functioning is affected. Homoeopathy may have a scope in such cases as it deals with the individual sensitivity. There is ample literature available in the materia medica where the action of various homoeopathic remedies in cognitive function and overall slowness of learning find mention. Materia Medica and Repertories enumerate many symptoms like slowness in comprehension, memory, writing, reading or calculations. So there is enough ground to postulate that Homoeopathy may have a significant role in the management of slow learners and co morbid conditions. This pilot study has been undertaken in the Bangalore Rural and Ramnagar Districts.