Types of Processing Speed

In a prior article (Is it ADHD or Slow Processing), processing speed was explained.  This article will cover the basic types of processing speed, any or all of which can cause learning problems. 

Visual Processing:  This type of processing governs any type of visual information.  The eyes take in information and relay it to the brain.  Although this is a partial list, a visual processing weakness may show up as:

  • Ignoring of important details, skipping important words when reading
  • Difficulty proofreading work
  • Omitting words or entire phrases when writing
  • Difficulty recognizing the visual cues in social situations
  • Staring off into space
  • A tendency to have more than the normal amount of accidents in activities with speed:  driving, riding a bike, skateboarding, roller blading, etc., because of the slow response to visual stimuli.

Verbal Processing:  This is how quickly the ear hears information and relays it to the brain.  Again, the following is a partial list, but may include difficulties with the following types of tasks:

  • More complex problem solving
  • Listening comprehension (in academics, home and social situations)
  • Following verbal instructions
  • Participating in class discussions (or social conversations, especially in larger groups)
  • May respond more slowly in conversations
  • Staying engaged during social activities (especially in larger groups or in less structured activities)

Motor Processing (motor speed):  In this instance the brain sends a message to the body telling it physically what to do.  If this area is weak, you may notice:

  • Poor handwriting
  • Difficulties copying
  • Difficulties reading a paragraph (skipping lines, for instance)
  • They may seem tired, even after an adequate amount of sleep
  • They may seem “lazy” or “unmotivated”
  • They may move more slowly than their peers when doing many tasks/chores
  • A reluctance to start tasks/chores
  • They may need additional time to complete a task/chore
  • Difficulties with the physical aspect of writing

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