Slow Processing Speed: What Does This Mean For My Teen?

Teacher's guide to slow processing

(This is one of our continuing series on teens and tech where we help teenagers understand more about learning, attentional, and social-emotional concerns and how technology can help them)

If you have recently been told that you have slow processing speed, you probably want to hold someone responsible. I’d suggest you start with your parents and maybe your grandparents. Most people who process information slowly inherited this trait from a close relative. But just like you, it’s really not their fault.  It’s just something you have to deal with.

Having slow processing speed is a little bit like being a slow runner. There are some people who are great at sprinting, some who are pretty fast in middle distances, but there are others who are best at marathons. Even if they are not running fast, they can keep going and going and going. Hopefully, that’s you. Because, if you’re one of those people who takes hours to do your homework, it tells me that you have the perseverance, drive, and grit to overcome slow processing speed.

In addition to working hard, there are some great apps and technologies that can compensate for slow processing speed and sometimes actually improve your processing speed. Here are some ideas for teens.

Learn how to monitor how much time you spend on tasks.  Keep a running diary of how long it takes you to complete tasks and then determine how you might improve your capacity to work quickly and efficiently. Use an app like Narrato Journal  to determine those tasks that take you the longest time to do and what you might do to change that.

Learn dictation skills.  Dictation skills are incredibly powerful tools for teens who tend to be very slow on writing tasks.  Use Siri and learn to dictate by brainstorming ideas and learning to speak in prose can be very helpful.  Dictation is not an easy thing to learn. It may take months to master but if done properly, can increase efficiency more dramatically than virtually any other technology.

Become a superb typist.  Do not settle for being a competent typist, work hard with practice with TapTyping to become an extremely fast typist.  By typing quickly and efficiently, you will be able to get the ideas in your head onto paper far more efficiently than if you have to write them.  In addition, editing and having others help you with your writing becomes much easier when typing is done into a cloud-based word processing program.

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2 thoughts on “Slow Processing Speed: What Does This Mean For My Teen?

  1. It very interesting to read these blogs and learn more about how processing speed works and what I can do to help children grow.

  2. Thanks for the article. I am currently promoting the LiveScribe Pen for my college-aged students with EF/ADHD and slow processing speed. The pen, if used strategically, allows for “mind-trips” during lectures with the ability to return and listen to places where information was either not heard or understood. Also, I could not find the Narrato Journal in the App store. I wanted to study it for its effectiveness. I like the idea of becoming aware of management in this way. Thanks again.

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