Processing Speed

About Processing Speed

Individuals with slow processing speed need more time to complete tasks. Processing speed issues can impact:

 

  • Visual processing speed: how quickly our eyes perceive visual information and relay it to the brain
  • Verbal processing speed: how quickly we take in auditory information and act on it
  • Motor speed: typically as it relates to fine-motor tasks
  • Academic fluency: the complex interaction of visual-motor skills, often with verbal components as well

 

How slow processing speed affects learning 

  • Difficulty processing spoken information fluently or automatically
    • Difficulty listening to a lecture and taking in everything
    • Difficulty remembering and being able to follow oral directions, especially when presented quickly or with multiple parts
    • Difficulty listening and being able to follow a class discussion
  • Problems getting information written down
    • Problems taking notes in class
    • Problems filling in an assignment notebook
    • Problems finishing an in-class assignment
    • Not having time to finish a test within the time allowed
  • Slower reading fluency
    • Difficulty completing assigned reading in class
    • Not having time to finish a test within the time allowed
    • Fatiguing or not being able to complete longer reading assignments
  • Difficulty sustaining attention to a task, not because of innate attention issues but because the attention gets lost in trying to process a lot of information coming in rapidly
  • Difficulty retrieving known information from long-term memory fast enough
  • Difficulty completing almost any task (activities, assignments, tests, transitions) within a specified time period
  • Difficulty keeping up in social situations because verbal and nonverbal information moves too quickly and needs to be processed quickly

Slow processing impairs routine, at-home activities as well, such as:

  • Getting out of bed and getting ready in the morning
  • Getting ready for bed at night
  • Falling asleep
  • Making everyday choices
  • Eating slowly
  • Completing personal care tasks such as brushing teeth
  • Starting or completing tasks, such as homework and chores
  • Recalling names of extended family and friends
  • Remembering upcoming activities
  • Awareness of the passage of time

The information in this section is summarized from Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up, by Braaten and Willoughby, which provides further useful information about children who fit these descriptions.

Ellen Braaten, Ph.D. and Brian Willoughby, Ph.D. Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up. New York: The Guilford Press, 2014.

See also articles for these often related concerns: ADHD and Memory; Improving Executive Functioning; Cognitive Skills Training.

Online Dyslexia Intervention K-2nd Grade Reading

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