What Is a 'Slow Processing Speed?'


"Our son is bright, but an educational assessment found that he has a 'slow processing speed.' What does that mean?"


Slow processing speed means that he takes a bit longer than other kids his age to make sense of the information he takes in. He might have trouble assimilating written or spoken information, or take longer to answer questions or finish tests. This is not a matter of intelligence, as you know, but it does make it hard for him to demonstrate his knowledge.

The school psychologist or therapist who assessed your son should be able to recommend specific accommodations—extra time on tests, shortened homework assignments, getting written as well as spoken instructions, and so on. Bear in mind that processing deficits like your son’s tend to be primarily auditory or primarily visual. Thus, the challenges he’ll face—and the interventions that will prove most helpful—are determined by the specific nature of his problem.


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Dr. Clare Jones was an educational consultant in Scottsdale, Arizona, respected throughout the psychological community for her work with ADHD children and adults. She passed away in late 2006 and is truly missed.
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