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Slow processing speed, help please

(9 Posts)
Oneveryworriedmum Thu 12-Feb-15 11:15:33

My DS age almost 7 was recently tested by an Ed Psych, who found that his processing speed is abnormally low, both in absolute terms and compared to his verbal reasoning and perceptual abilities, which are both very high, and working memory which is high. He seems fine with processing spoken instructions but it's his (in)ability to get things down on paper, or indeed on himself (clothes etc) that is dragging him down. Suggestions are to do occupational therapy, get extra time for SATS type tests in school, and possibly replace handwriting with typing.
I have read about a wide range of things people have done to help their DCs improve their processing speed, and was wondering whether anyone with slow processing DCs could share their experiences?

proudmama2772 Sat 14-Feb-15 18:36:41

Was he diagnosed with dyspraxia? I'm not an expert. My daughter was recently tested and determined to have dyslexia. Handwriting is extremely challenging for her as well so it looks like the dyslexia has also affected her writing. She is only 8 and I am definitely planning to to get her some keyboarding skills, but think this comes easier for children when they get a little older.

I have a friend who's son was diagnosed with dyspraxia. He's all grown and a brilliant engineer now, but when he was young has similar issues to your DS.

I wish I can say something to ease your worrying. My DS with dyslexia is my 3rd. If it had been my oldest who had been diagnosed it would have caused me a lot more worry. Did the Ed Pysch recommend any games/activities.

acapulco Mon 15-Feb-16 20:44:47

Hi @oneveryworriedmum

This is my experience/advice as a parent with 2 DS with 2 totally different processing glitches. I don't have experience yet of another school setting so you may have a more positive experience than I have had so far.

It's a tough road I won't lie - it has had many lows to get DS through school but how we have also laughed at the ways slow processing can manifest in DS1.

DS, now 10, was also diagnosed at 7 with slow processing (13 centile) and poor working memory (68 centile) and like your son tested highly on verbal reasoning and perceptual reasoning abilities- 96 centile. He has been in a private school but we have pulled him out and will put him in the state sector for secondary in Sept- hopefully to reduce the pressure. However, my experience may be different as my DS has a poor working memory.

Your own personal knowledge and understanding in this area is key because I found, in my experience, that his school didn't have a great deal of knowledge on slow processing and the effects it can have during the whole school day. Dyslexia yes, slow processing not at all. This was our biggest and toughest challenge. Many individual teachers couldn't grasp why- when he was often called uniquely creative,bright and had beautiful handwriting- why he couldn't produce the output of his peers, why he was easily distracted and constantly being told off for classwork not being completed and/or lost and homework work being handed in late - despite his diagnosis. I personally found a disconnect of approach between how slow processing affects children in the classroom, in the playground (social relationships tricky as conversations are all fast paced), and then at home at the end of the day. Homework being a torturous affair, as I get the overly tired and emotional child at 3.30pm who can't cope with anymore work. These children are beyond exhausted after having run a marathon up hill just to get through the day processing not only work, but sights, sounds and social situations in a fast paced setting.

My advice

- once you have the diagnosis put your ED psych report away for a couple of weeks and reread it once you have some distance from the initial shock and panic. It won't matter if you look at it again in the Easter holidays.

- You need to understand what you expect from him. Less is more, understanding learning objective more important than speed. Do scribe for him at the end of the day. Don't force him to write. Start touch typing now.

- I was told to disregard CAT tests scores and in fact any speed testing scores
because it will never reflect his intellectual ability. This is tough when success in schools is measured by speed and quick recall. Even some sections in national CAT tests are timed. My son always fails this section as they are given 10 secs to answer a question before the page automatically moves on. I am not bothered by these test scores.

- I am more interested in what my son knows, critical thinking, logic, reasoning, rather than how much he can record in a set time frame. Testing often makes him feel physically sick and a failure before he has even started. So set your own personal goals for your son so you don't put either of you under unnecessary pressure. He is bright and will always be bright.

- It is important for the school to understand what success looks like for these DC in terms of output (different for everyone and will change with increasing workload/expectations). The school need to understand this themselves so not to inadvertently punish them for being unable to meet more mainstream expectations.

A book to read -
- Bright Kids Who Can't Keep Up: Help Your Child Overcome Slow Processing Speed and Succeed in a Fast-Paced World - by Ellen Braaten

A decent read - Americanised- but it's the only book I could find on the subject when not linked to dyslexia. Published in 2014.

I have found this link below useful (amongst a few I have read but this is a good start)

Bits of wisdom for all -

Hope some of this is helpful to you. Good Luck these DC are funny and wonderful and DS brain is sometimes frankly amazing to me on how he compensates for lack of quick thinking.

LovelyBath Sat 02-Apr-16 23:12:50

Thanks for posting. My child is going through assessment for this at the moment, so would be keen to share suggestions. He is 11.

The main one we have had so far is a touch typing course may help, as well as using a laptop computer for assignments at secondary school.

PeppaPigStinks Fri 15-Apr-16 20:26:26

I just came on here to look for some advice.! Thanks for the replies to the original Op

Morebiscuitsplease Sat 07-May-16 17:28:03

Wow, my dd2 has had a an Ed Psych assessment and has slow processing and poor working memory ...yet very good verbally. School are taking note but it will be slow process of educating them. They too have no idea how tired my daughter not the effort she puts in. We will get there but imagine ups and downs along the way.
By the way it was me that identified not school and we paid for an ed psych...glad we did.

PulledMuscleOuch Tue 10-May-16 14:03:37

morebiscuits - me too!
I instigated and Ed psych assessment for my 11yo D'S - he also has slow working memory and mild dyslexia..
Got his formal report today and it has been recommended he has 25% extra time in eams and begins a touch typing course. Also it suggests retesting in year 9 in preparation for gcses.

I have to say the assessment has been very positive to his self confidence - he now sees he isn't stupid but that he learns and processes a different way to his peers. In fact he took great delight in learning his reading age is 16 and his spelling age is 14. I noticed last night he had pinched the books I ordered on Dyslexia (to educate myself) and has been reading through them - last night he had a big grin on his face "mum! It all makes sense to me!". He now realises he works so much harder than his peers to achieve the great results he has already got. With strategies I imagine he will make amazing progress on the excellent foundation he has worked so hard to achieve already.

Now to ensure steps are put in place for him to transition from primary to secondary.

Martha83 Thu 26-May-16 09:28:50

Dear Ladies,

I am doing my own reaserch and it seems that my daughter has all the problems you describe sad She is slow, she is criticised at school for not concentrating, not following instructions etc. Until now we all thought she is lazy and not interested in learning but how foolish I was ...It makes me really upset for being unfair on her...

Could you please recommend me a good centre when I can have Ed Psych assessment done privately ?

If the result is bad does the school she goes to has to do something about it? She is going to a private school at the moment and she cant keep up sad

I will be really grateful for all tips x

Threeschools Fri 27-May-16 13:42:09

If your child is in a private school, you need to go private anyhow and pay yourself. Usually schools have links with Ed Psys, so they should be able to recommend someone local to you. If the Ed Psy report recommends extra support, again, being in a private school this will be added to your bill. For slow processing speed though the recommendation is likely to be extra time for exams, and usually the school is very happy to oblige for internal exams. For external exams I am still a bit confused, this is all new to me, but I think the child might need to be reassessed before the exams.

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