Processing Speed describes how efficiently a child can perform a cognitive task. It accounts for the speed at which the child takes in information, processes it, and then acts on it. A child may struggle with one or more of these aspects of processing, and because different children have different capacities in different areas, there are varying processing speed profiles. A child with slow processing speed in written tasks, for example, could be slow in seeing what they need to copy, determining how to do it, or slow to put that information onto paper.
Processing speed also impacts the ability to quickly and automatically complete cognitive tasks, particularly when a child is under pressure to maintain focus, attention, and concentration. Processing speed is closely associated with reading and math achievement and can be impacted by executive function disorders. Lack of speed in processing routine information makes it more difficult and time-consuming to comprehend new information. Children with slow processing speed often struggle with work completion, taking notes, and reading and writing efficiency.
Home and School Situations Requiring Processing Speed
- Completing activities with time constraints.
- Understanding, thinking, reacting, moving, making decisions, and behaving quickly (answering questions in class, sports).
- Completing tasks and work and writing efficiently and effectively.
- Basic arithmetic operations.
While research on improving processing speed is still sparse, there are many promising ways to make modest gains. Most of the strategies that have been demonstrated to improve processing speed involve repetition and practice so that specific actions and memories become automatic. This type of approach requires persistence and a willingness to practice. From our perspective at LearningWorks for Kids, the best way to get kids to remain attentive and engaged is through the use of games and technologies. Here are our recommendations for games and activities that improve processing speed.
Games and Activities That Can Improve Processing Speed
Dance Central Spotlight, Guitar Hero, and Rock Band – These games require children to mentally record what they see on the television screen, process that information, and translate it into their own motions. This requires physical coordination and fast processing skills for quick reaction time.
Boggle and Uno – Both the tabletop and online versions of these games stimulate the mind and are great for improving speed of processing information within a time limit. Uno is available as a Play Now game right here at our website.
Big Brain Academy – This is a Nintendo game that includes a series of logic puzzles that require focus and concentration.
Join a sports team or learn to play an instrument – These activities provide your child with the opportunity to practice fast hand-eye coordination.
Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, Rubik’s Cube, chess, jigsaw puzzles – Basic memorization exercises and logic puzzles will keep your child’s brain sharp and processing information quickly. Word Dynamo offers crossword puzzles and other word games for grade-school through college-age players. Or try playing an online game like Social Chess against your child is a good way to give them a bit of competition in a lower-pressure setting.
Brain-training games – There are numerous websites where kids can participate in games designed to improve processing speed. We have many games available to play right now here on our website. Other websites offering these kinds of brain-training games include: BrainConnection.com, Luminosity.com, HappyNeuron.com, MindHabits.com, FunBrain.com, and WikiHow.com