Slow processing: How can Parents Help?


The saying “knowledge is power” hold true here.  Get an evaluation so you know what you are dealing with.  If it is slow processing and you don’t want to pursue cognitive development training, be aware that things will take your child longer to complete. 

Minimize stress as much as possible because stressful situations tend to slow everything down anyway, making the problem worse.

Involve your child in solutions to handle particularly stressful times during the day:  have a checklist on their door for steps to follow to get ready for the day a checklist by the back door listing all the thing they need to have with them when they leave, have them lay out clothes the night before, pack their backpack the night before, etc.

Make sure you, your child, and everyone associated with your child understands that slow processing speed is NOT A MEASURE OF INTELLIGENCE BUT HOW THEY RESPOND TO THINGS.   After all, we aren’t all great singers or dancers or great at sports,  this is just an extension of differences that exist among people. 

Kids with slow processing generally have some specific problem areas.  These tend to be in understand the concept of time (not telling time, although that is one also, but the passage of time.  To help develop time as a concept, here is an activity you can do:  Generate as many short activities as you can thing of.  Put each on a separate slip of paper and store in an envelope, jar, etc.  When you have a couple of minutes, pull two slips and ask them which they think will take longer to do.  Then time them as they do both.  Ideas might include things like:  make your bed, put your shoes away, tie your shoes, walk to the mailbox, call Grandma, write three of your spelling words, sing the alphabet song. 

While you are developing the concept of time, explicitly explain the calendar to them, noting important appointments, etc.

You can use activities that you child can do easily and encourage him to do them faster.  Use a stopwatch and see if he can improve his time with each repetition.  Ideas:  stack 10 dominoes (blocks), separate all the red cards in a deck of 52 cards, count out a handful of small objects (fine motor also!) Add to these ideas and modify them as necessary.  Keep them short and easy to reach in 30 to 60 seconds.  

The end goal of this is time awareness and time management – they need to have the tools developed so that they can successfully navigate their day.   Analog clocks are helpful, as are stopwatches, calendars, routines, and checklists.   

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