Imagine being a bright kid who is thought of as lazy or not smart. Unfortunately, this is exactly what can happen to a child that has slow processing speed.
Processing speed refers to how quickly a person can perceive information.
There’s visual processing speed that measures the time it takes to understand what you see. Let’s say a word is flashed on a screen. How much time does it take you to recognize the word and perceive its meaning. As you might expect, kids that have slow visual processing speed often have trouble reading.
There’s also auditory processing speed that measures the time it takes to understand what you hear. When auditory processing is too slow, kids can get lost and have trouble following directions.
Learning struggles and learning disabilities can be caused or made much worse by slow processing speed. ADD and other attention issues may also be associated with slow processing speed.
But it gets worse. It’s easy to see how academic struggles come from slow processing. What’s worse? Kids with slow processing often suffer from social difficulties. All it takes is a missed social cue here or there and a child is shunned by their peers.
Kids with slow processing start to take on all the feedback they get. They start to believe they are stupid, lazy, inconsiderate, and unlikable. This is the real tragedy. None of this is true.
What to do about Slow Processing?
Fortunately, there are answers. Every day, we help kids significantly improve their auditory and visual processing speed.
As it turns out, the brain has plasticity. This means that the brain can change throughout life. Our processing speed and other brain skills can be improved.
There are still a lot of people, even “professionals,” who will tell you that you just have to learn to live with learning disabilities or slow processing speed. It’s just not true. There’s a lot you can do, and it’s not acceptable to have bright kids suffer just because they currently have slow processing speed.
It’s an imperfect analogy, but the brain does work a lot like a muscle. In our learning centers, we use processing skills training to give the brain an intense workout. Intensity causes fast results, and our students love seeing fast progress. There’s nothing like progress to build even more motivation.
What Happens in Processing Skills Training?
Processing skills training usually happens over ten to fifteen weeks. Students spend an hour each day on drills and games while working one-on-one with a clinician. The activities are focused on one specific processing skill.
Still, in life, we don’t use just one processing skill in isolation. Our program works to integrate multiple processing skills and make them automatic. Keys to success include:
- Intensity - Intense, repetitive training is used to create permanent connections in the brain.
- One-to-One - Cognitive training needs to be tailored to each individual student, and our clinicians adjust the intensity and focus for rapid progress.
- Immediate Feedback - The last thing we want is to train the brain incorrectly, so errors must be caught when they happen.
- Challenge - The most progress occurs when we are stretched but not overwhelmed.
- Loading - We want the new processing skills to become completely automatic. Adding other mental activities to the training helps make the processing automatic.
- Distractions - Adding distractions helps the child process quickly in spite of distractions and helps improve attention.
- Variety - Different types of activities builds mental flexibility and increases motivation and interest.
If you are concerned that your child may have slow processing speed, an assessment will be needed to discover exactly what’s going on. Many learning struggles may look alike, but have different causes. It’s essential to know the causes before starting any treatment program.
The best way to learn more is to contact us for help.
Learning Spurt is Atlanta's Learning Center helping families overcome learning struggles and learning disabilities.Attend a Parent Information Meeting to learn why your child is struggling in school and what you can do.