Is Low IQ Limiting Your Child? Start Today: 5 Simple Strategies


As a parent, nothing is more important to me than helping my child reach their full potential. From the moment they are born, we start nurturing them and guiding them so they can grow up to be happy, successful adults. However, sometimes despite our best efforts, a child may struggle in certain areas of development or learning. One challenge some children face is having a lower than average IQ score.

While IQ is just one measure of intelligence, it can impact how easily a child learns in a traditional classroom setting. A lower IQ alone does not determine a child’s future, but it is something parents should be aware of so we can provide the right support. The good news is there are strategies we can implement to help children with lower IQs still thrive. With patience and creativity, every child can learn and develop skills in their own unique way.

In this article, I wanted to discuss how a lower IQ could potentially limit a child if not addressed, but also share five simple strategies parents can start using right away to support their child. My goal is to help empower parents and give them hope that just because IQ tests may say one thing, it does not mean their child is doomed to struggle. With the right approach, children can accomplish amazing things, even if traditional academic subjects do not come as easily for them.

How Can a Lower IQ Potentially Limit a Child?

Let’s first discuss how exactly a lower IQ could potentially hold a child back if not properly supported. Keep in mind every child is different, and IQ should never be used alone to predict a child’s future abilities or talents. However, there are some common ways a lower IQ may present challenges:

  • Difficulty with Abstract Thinking: Children with lower IQs may struggle more with higher-level critical thinking, problem-solving, analysing concepts, grasping cause-and-effect relationships, and thinking in the abstract. Subjects like maths and certain sciences that require logical skills can be more difficult.
  • Slower Processing Speed: It may take the child longer to learn new information, complete tasks, and follow multi-step instructions compared to peers. This processing lag could impact how quickly they are able to finish schoolwork and tests.
  • Shorter Attention Span: With lower cognitive processing abilities, it is harder for these children to focus and concentrate for extended periods of time, especially on difficult or uninteresting material. Staying engaged and on task can pose a challenge.
  • Weaker Memory Skills: Memorising facts, dates, formulas, vocabulary words and more may be a bigger challenge since the brain is not able to absorb and retain as much at once compared to children with higher IQs.
  • Difficulty with Standardised Tests: Due to processing limitations, memory difficulties, and less developed abstract thinking skills, scoring well on standardised IQ tests, achievement tests, and other exams that are timed can be much harder.
  • Learning Disabilities: Children with lower IQs are statistically more likely to also have an undiagnosed learning disability like dyslexia that can compound academic struggles. Finding the right educational support is crucial.

If a child’s IQ weaknesses are not addressed through specialised teaching methods, accommodations, tutoring help, and lifestyle adjustments, it puts them at a disadvantage of falling behind academically compared to average or gifted peers over time. This academic lag could go on to potentially limit their access to advanced programs, impact their career choices, and even undermine their self-confidence in school. But with the right strategies, as we will discuss, parents can help their child to thrive!

Strategy #1: Focus on Developing Life Skills

While academic subjects will likely always be more difficult for children with lower IQs, the goal should be providing them opportunities to develop important life skills that will serve them well into adulthood no matter their career path. Real-world, practical skills are just as valuable as book smarts. Here are some life skill focus areas parents can emphasise:

  • Life Management Skills: Teach budgeting, basic cooking/cleaning routines, organisational practices, daily schedules, proper hygiene. Give age-appropriate responsibilities to foster independence.
  • Social-Emotional Learning: Encourage self-awareness, relationship building, effective communication, recognizing/regulating emotions through conversations and role playing challenging scenarios.
  • Physical Skills: Sign up for sports, outdoor activities, dance, martial arts to build coordination, motor skills, teamwork, and healthy habits.
  • Creative Expression: Provide art supplies, musical instruments, writing journals to develop imagination, non-verbal abilities through hobbies.
  • Vocational Exploration: Expose them to a variety trades like woodworking, gardening, baking through summer camps or weekend activities to discover interests.

Focusing on well-rounded growth through life skills helps the child gain valuable competencies, confidence and a sense of purpose, whether or not traditional academics come easily. It can open doors to all types of careers after high school too.

Strategy #2: Individualise Learning Styles and Methods

Not all minds learn the same way. Finding educational approaches that play to a child’s strengths can maximise what they retain. Here are some individualised methods worth experimenting with:

  • Hands-On, Kinesthetic Activities: Young children especially benefit from interactive learning through building, exploring, creating to stimulate multiple senses at once. STEM toys, cooking lessons, community volunteering.
  • Multisensory Techniques: Incorporate visuals, music, movement, oral repetition to tap into different learning modalities. Flashcards, raps, labelling household items, and interactive ebooks can reinforce lessons.
  • Break Tasks into Small, Manageable Steps: Provide checklists, visual schedules, frequent breaks during study time to tackle large assignments piece by piece without overload.
  • Give Extra Processing Time: On tests, assignments and projects at home, extend typical deadlines they face in school to reduce time-based stress.
  • Use Organisational Aids: Assignment notebooks, colour-coded calendars, visual daily routines, checklists provide structure for executive functioning weaknesses.

Adapting teaching methods to the individual gives a child the best shot at comprehension and retention, building on what motivates their unique brain most. Be open-minded about experimenting to find their fit.

Strategy #3: Provide Enrichment Outside the Classroom

When academics pose an extra challenge, look for enrichment through extracurriculars that interest the child and encourage social bonds. Connecting with peers fosters well-being too:

  • Join Community Programs: Search for local affordable after-school options like scouts, art classes, homework help programs offering socialisation and exposure to new skills.
  • Private Tutoring: Even one session a week with an experienced tutor can provide individualised learning, confidence boost, teaching methods, and homework accountability that school lacks time for.
  • Summer Learning: Sign up for summer camps focused on hands-on projects, outdoor adventures, performing arts, sports to engage their curious nature through fun.
  • Weekend Activities: Research affordable local activities like coding clubs, dance lessons, religious youth groups providing mentorship and structure during downtime.

Non-classroom pursuits can spark natural talents, give rise to friendships with like-minded peers, and add learning through play to balance academic pressures at school. Find what inspires their interests outside the four walls.

Strategy #4: Manage Test and Evaluation Anxiety

While IQ tests are meant to provide useful data, the testing process itself can be intimidating and undermine a child’s confidence if struggles are apparent. Parents can help reduce pressure in a few key ways:

  • Don’t Overemphasise Results: Tests only capture a narrow glimpse. Talk through scores rationally without judgement, focusing on their whole self, not a number.
  • Prepare Gently: Do light practising of example questions together to take the mystery out, but avoid intense last-minute “cramming.”
  • Use Coping Affirmations: On difficult sections encourage with “You’ve got this!” “Just do your best.” Promote a growth mindset that intelligence/ability can improve over time.
  • Reward for Effort: Praise effort, focus, stamina more than scores alone. “I’m so proud of how hard you worked.” Celebrate the process, not just end results.
  • Communicate Calmly: If anxious during testing, take breaks, use relaxation techniques. Afterwards, calmly discuss any concerns with the teacher, not the child.

Reducing evaluation stress may promote a calmer mental approach leading to improved performance versus fear of failure. Test results mean little on their own. What matters most is continued support.

Strategy #5: Advocate Respectfully for Accommodations

Not every school or teacher has the ability to individualise for all learner profiles. So it’s important parents respectfully advocate for appropriate learning supports if their child responds better:

  • Request Modifications: Extended time, one-on-one assistance, oral testing/assignments, alternative assignments or projects that don’t rely on speed.
  • Communicate Sensitively: Schedules meetings with teachers to share any assessments, discuss concerns/observations objectively without accusatory language. Propose solutions together.
  • Engage Community: Speak to guidance counsellors, administrators, request IEP/504 plans if qualified to formalise official accommodations contractually obligated by schools.


What age should I be concerned about my child’s IQ?

While development varies, around ages 5-7 is when most children begin formal education and discrepancies from peers may emerge. Keep an eye out for persistent issues with abstract concepts, memory, focus that impact learning and social skills. Consult teacher observations.

How can I get my child tested for IQ?

Speak to your paediatrician first. They can evaluate and refer you to a neuropsychologist or educational therapist for proper testing. Most school districts also have their own resources like student support teams who can assess and determine eligibility for programs. Private testing is also an option but may require out of pocket costs.

What should I do if the results say my child has a low IQ?

Do not panic. Meet with the evaluator to fully understand implications and next steps. IQ is not destiny – focus on their strengths and use recommended accommodations, enrichments. Seek support groups for perspective from others in similar situations navigating successes. Most importantly, maintain high expectations and keep Lines of communication open with your child.

Will my child always struggle in school?

Not necessarily. With individualised learning strategies and proper support through 504 plans or IEPs, as well as additional tutoring and enrichment outside the classroom, many children are able to find academic success and thrive in areas that fit their talents. Continue advocating to keep options and aids available as needs change over time. Progress may be gradual but is possible.

Will my child be able to go to college?

Having a lower IQ does not preclude attending college, it just may require exploring alternative pathways. Consider starting at community colleges, online or vocational programs, certifications, internships alongside academic pursuits to boost options and skills for career mobility later. With guidance counsellor support, accommodations, and determination,college could still be a realistic goal with the right preparation and program fit.

How do I support my child’s emotional well-being?

Focus on their strengths, keep lines of communication open about feelings, tackle challenges respectfully as a team, engage them in hobbies for joy and social connections. Monitor for signs of low self-esteem from academic struggles and be preemptive intervening with encouragement, counselling if needed. With time and patience, emphasising their whole self beyond academics promotes resilience and mental wellness.


In closing, while an IQ score may suggest certain academic limitations for some children, it certainly does not determine a person’s worth or potential for success in life. With the right care, understanding and support from parents, even children with lower IQs can thrive and forge their own path on their Terms.

The strategies discussed in this article such as focusing on developing life skills, individualising learning approaches, reducing academic pressure through enrichment activities, managing anxiety, and advocating respectfully for classroom needs are all ways parents can empower their children to reach higher than IQ numbers may predict. Small adjustments to teaching methods, combined with nurturing a child’s interests, strengths, confidence and well-being go far beyond any single test score.

Raising a child, especially one facing academic challenges, requires dedication, creativity and unconditional love. But with dedication to finding each child’s best learning fit, and loving guidance through both triumphs and setbacks, they can develop a growth mindset, determination and real-world competencies to achieve greater heights than even they may believe possible at times. Every child deserves that chance.

My hope in sharing these strategies is to inspire any parents questioning their abilities to support a low IQ child. With the right environment and opportunities, all children can find personally meaningful success in their own time, in areas complementing their unique traits. An IQ test alone does not predetermine a child’s potential or worth to the world. Their future remains unwritten. With patience and commitment from those who care most, every child truly can thrive.

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