Students with slow processing speed can have difficulty keeping up in class, following discussions and completing assignments. Learn about some interventions that may help.

Understanding Slow Processing

Does your student take two hours to complete homework that takes other students thirty minutes? Does your student perform poorly on tests even though he or she understands the concepts? Does he or she have difficulty following multi-step directions? If so, slow processing speed may be contributing to your student’s difficulties.Level of intelligence has nothing to do with slow processing speed. It has to do with the pace at which students take in visual or auditory information, make sense of it, and respond. For example, when a student with slow processing speed sees the letters that make up the word ‘mother,’ he may not immediately know what those letters say. It’s not that he doesn’t know how to read.

It’s just that the process of reading that’s quick and automatic for most of his classmates takes him more time and requires more effort.Slow processing speed affects learners of all ages. It can make it difficult for younger students to master the basics of reading and writing, and it affects older students’ ability to complete tasks accurately and quickly.

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Try some of the following interventions for helping students with slow processing speed. Soon, your students will be up to speed and ready to tackle even the most challenging assignments!

Interventions

  • Give the student more time to complete his or her work.
  • Give the student more time to respond orally to questions.

  • Allow extra time to complete tests.
  • Instead of having the student write out answers to essay tests, let him or her dictate responses to a scribe.
  • Lessen the amount of homework the student is required to do. For example, instead of assigning a whole page of math problems to complete, only require them to complete every other problem.

  • Shorten the requirements for assignments so they can be completed within the allotted time.
  • Give copies of notes instead of requiring the student to copy from the board, or record student lectures. This way the student can listen to the lecture after class and take notes or study without time constraints. Most mobile phones, tablets, and laptops have the ability to record audio.

  • Give specialized instruction to improve the student’s reading speed by teaching reading fluency, which is the ability to recall frequently used letter sequences quickly. Repeated readings are an excellent way to help students recognize high-frequency words more quickly and promote fluency.
  • Provide timed activities or fun computer games to build speed and automaticity with computing simple math facts as fast as possible.

  • Train the student to use a stopwatch or a timer to record how long it takes him or her to complete an assignment and to track the time spent on each activity. Set goals so the student can eventually take less time complete these tasks.

Lesson Summary

In this lesson, you learned about interventions to help students with slow processing speed. Utilizing these interventions will not only help your student with slow processing speed keep up in class, but will also help them complete assignments and have an overall successful school experience. Remember, all they need is more time!

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