How can we help children with poor processing speed? (Part 2)

How can we help children with poor processing speed? (Part 2)

In the previous article, poor processing speed in children was addressed including the ways in which it can affect your child’s learning. To determine if your child’s inability to work quickly is related to poor processing speed, it is firstly necessary to engage a psychologist who is experienced in psychoeducational assessments. This psychoeducational assessment normally consists of an intelligence test (which tests the mental ability of your child) such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISCV) and a measure of academic achievement such as the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test for Children (WIATIII). Your child’s ability to process information quickly and fluently is measured as part of the intelligence test.

Once it has been identified that your child has poor processing speed that is affecting their learning, there are a number of factors to consider. Does it co-occur with another disorder that may require a referral to a medical or health professional? For instance, difficulties in fine motor skills may negatively affect a child’s ability to write quickly; in this case, a referral to an occupational therapist to assist with handwriting techniques is recommended.

For another, a child who suffers from inattentiveness may benefit from a referral to a pediatrician to establish the medical origin. Alternatively, a child who is identified with having poor processing speed as a consequence of perfectionistic/anxious tendencies may benefit from consulting with a psychologist to learn more constructive ways of managing negative thoughts.

Once you have identified the medical or health interventions that may assist your child with their learning, there are also measures with which they can be assisted in the classroom. Processing speed can affect your child in a variety of ways which often can leave them feeling frustrated, tired and anxious. In class, providing more time to complete assignments and developing an individualized learning plan so that they can work at their own pace is useful. It is also important to reduce the volume of work, for instance, setting fewer maths problems. Note-taking expectations should be reduced which can be achieved by taking a photo with an iPad of the work for your child. Your child is also likely to benefit from a teacher who avoids providing long multi-step instructions.

In summary, there are many ways that processing speed difficulties could be affecting your child’s general wellbeing and academic progress. A learning difficulties assessment completed in an educational psychology clinic will assist in determining the strengths and weaknesses of your child including their ability to work fluently and quickly.

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