It can be hard to recognize slow processing speed. That’s because the signs aren’t always obvious. Kids might not follow directions or answer the teacher’s question when they’re called on. They might take forever to finish homework or make up their mind about something.
Those things can happen for all sorts of reasons. And if your child did one or two of them once in a while you might not think anything of it. But if you’re seeing this type of behavior a lot, you may wonder if slow processing speed is the cause.
So, where do you go from here? Here are steps to take if you think your child has slow processing speed.
1. Learn about processing speed.
Processing speed is complicated. The more you know, the more you can help your child. Get the facts about slow processing speed. Know the signs at different ages. And see what it’s like for kids to have slow processing speed.
2. Look for patterns.
The most valuable information you can share with others is what you’re seeing at home. Learn how to look for patterns in your child’s behavior. The signs of slow processing speed can vary from task to task. Being slow to process information can be stressful for kids, so you might also see signs of anxiety.
3. Find out what’s happening at school.
Teachers can be great sources of information and insight. Set up a time to talk with your child’s teacher. Find out what the teacher is seeing in class and share what you’ve seen at home. Together, you can talk about what might help.
4. Connect with others.
By talking about what’s happening with people you trust, you might find out they've experienced something similar. You can also trade tips and support in our secure Understood Community.
5. Let your child know it’ll be OK.
Being slow to process things can make kids feel frustrated and bad about themselves. Tell your child that the challenges are real and have nothing to do with being smart or not working hard enough. Get tips for responding when your child says, “I can’t do it.” And learn more about talking to kids about slow processing speed.
5. Know where to go for answers.
The only way to know for sure if your child has slow processing speed is through an evaluation. Schools do evaluations for free. The results will show where your child is struggling, along with strengths. And they can lead to supports at school.
6. Find ways to help at home.
Try these tips from a teacher. Learn how to give praise that builds self-esteem. And hear from a mom who learned to respect her son’s processing speed and “savor” a slower pace at home.
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About the author
About the author
The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.
Mark J. Griffin, PhD was the founding headmaster of Eagle Hill School, a school for children with specific learning disabilities.