Is it AHD or Slow Processing Speed?

timed testSlow Processing Speed (SPS) is the time it takes for individuals to take in information, process it, and respond. The information processed can be visual, verbal, or motor. In the article Slow Processing Speed: Signs & Solutions for a Misunderstood Deficit, Dr. Ellen Braaten discusses the difference between SPS and ADHD symptoms.  She also provides tips on how to cope and manage at home.

Dr. Braaten was studying children with ADHD and/or other learning developmental issues.  She found that all of these children had problems with processing speed. She found that kids with slow processing speed were assumed to be lacking in intelligence. However, her research proved that theory wrong. Dr. Braaten's states “Processing speed problems cut across and affect many academic, behavioral, and emotional difficulties, with the largest group affected being kids with ADHD. In addition, research shows that 61% of kids with slow processing speed meet the criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD.”

The study also found:

  • Boys are diagnosed with processing speed deficits more than girls.
  • Social difficulties were common in about one-third of the children
  • Language impairments were reported in about 40% of the kids
  • Most kids with slow processing speed don’t seem to outgrow their symptoms
  • Having a processing speed deficit is not the same as having ADHD

Dr. Braaten goes on to list some of the best strategies to cope with slow processing speed which include:

  1. Smart use of technology
  2. Slot in break times during the day
  3. Giving ample time to complete assignments and tests
  4. Give finished examples of longer assignments
  5. Teach time management skills and how to tell time
  6. Provide help with a task such as note taking

Living in our fast-paced and over scheduled environment can make slow processing speed a big issue at home. Therefore, Dr. Braaten recommends you are more efficient at home with routines, teach the concept of time, break directions down into smaller chunks and give the directions at a slower pace.

Slow processing speed is very common in children who are diagnosed with ADHD.  Play Attention can increase processing speed, improve self-regulation and increase attention.

Our attention specialist can provide you with a FREE ADHD assessment and consultation to pinpoint your child’s specific strengths and weaknesses.  If slow processing speed is one of the areas of concern, your personal executive function coach will design a customized plan to make certain this is addressed and improved.

To schedule your consult call 800-788-6786 or click here to schedule online.