Have you noticed that your child with slow processing speed doesn’t want to play sports or video games the way their peers do? Kids with slow processing speed may struggle to keep up with other children their age in fast-paced activities. They may find it difficult to keep up constant movement, shift positions, and transition from playing offense to defense in sports like soccer, lacrosse, or basketball.
Popular action/first person shooter video games may be too challenging, and bantering with peers while keeping up with a fast-moving conversation may also be problematic. A puzzle video game that has time limits for specific quests can also be a discouraging experience. Slow processing speed may keep children from playing a multiplayer online game with their friends or make them feel excluded as teammates on the playground in a game of tag.
In addition to sports and video games, kids with slow processing may also get discouraged when it takes so long to read a book that they lose track of the plot.
Fortunately, there are many activities where slow processing speed can be an asset for kids. Helping children to identify those areas where they can interact with their peers and be rewarded for their deliberate approach can be useful. These activities can also help these kids prepare for future jobs in which slow processing speed does not interfere with performance and may instead be an asset.
The Best Activities for Kids with Slow Processing Speed
Hang out with peers. One of the most important things that kids with slow processing speed can do is to be patient and spend time listening to others. Becoming a conversationalist, thinking about things in depth, and sharing those ideas with others can be powerful in building relationships and connections with others.
Create works of art. The making of art does not typically have a time limit. Of course, art class at school is an exception. But allowing kids creation time at home can let them expand on ideas and techniques they learn in timed settings. It can also help them develop patience, creativity, and self-expression at their own pace.
Minecraft in creative mode. Minecraft is a sandbox game, a game that allows players to explore a world, create what interests them, and revise when they choose. There are no time limits or need for speed (though some kids might like to play forever!).
Build things. LEGOs, blocks, and other construction toys are some of the best toys for kids with slow processing speed. These toys are best for kids with slow processing speed when the children use their imagination instead of following a specific plan.
Encourage sports that separate offense from defense. This can reduce the demands for quick transitions and fast decision making. Baseball, football, and softball may be suitable in this regard.
Encourage participation in sports that move at an individual’s pace. Good examples include golf, bowling, and track and field events such as the javelin, hammer, and long jump.
Encourage slower-paced video game play. There are specific game genres where speed is less important than plot, strategy, and discovery. Adventure video games such as the Legend of Zelda series, Role Playing Games such as the Final Fantasy series, and Strategy Games such as the Civilization series would fall into this category.
If you suspect your child may have slow processing speed, you should have a look at our questionnaire that measures four different areas of processing. We have several resources to help you learn more about processing speed, and how to parent a child that has slow processing speed.
Featured image: Flickr user Dark Dwarf