#1
new at the whole guitar thing. starting off slow. just sticking to rythm right now. having problems with changing cords. hands and fingers aren't all that fast. i know practice is the best thing but, any exercises to help with speed? would really appreciate the help.
#2
First things first, learn basic finger positions. In the method I learned in (lessons, though) I learned what notes are used in beginner play and practice on each string. After every strings' notes, you would use the new notes in a short riff or something similar. This practice on each string and use of the notes lets each finger independently speed up, allowing for chord shapes to be made easier.

Remember, chords are just notes played at the same time!
#3
Practice different scales to build speed, accuracy and strength.
#4
for the chords, practicing is the easiest way i can think of to improve chord changing speed... Alternating Picking is a nice way to build speed in your strumming hand