Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How Poverty Affects the Learning Skills of a Child

While many kids from low income families have proven that  poverty is not enough reason for them to stop school and not to excel in their studies, researches indicate that poverty affects the brain's ability to learn significantly. Below is a short list of the different ways by which poverty impacts the neurological make-up of a child. 
1) Children raised in poverty speak fewer words at home compared to children raised in middle class and upper class families. Oftentimes, conversations that are rich in vocabulary words occur less in poor families. This situation provide limited opportunities  for a child's brain to develop language skills which are needed in effective communication and good classroom performance.
2) Children raised in poverty have weak oral language that lead to reading gaps. Auditory neural stimulation is required in the establishment of distinct phoneme representations, building of vocabulary, and development of age-appropriate oral language skills. When a child lacks this, a reading gap occurs and widens as he or she progresses through school. 
3) Children raised in poverty suffer from low cognitive skills too. Children who come from homes of poverty have limitations in a range of cognitive skills, including long- and short-term (working) memory, visual and spatial skills, executive functions like self-control, and the ability to learn from reward.
These poor children need explicit interventions in order to catch up and improve their perceptual, cognitive and linguistic skills. By considering the explanations listed above, teaching strategies to better help children from poverty can be created.