The ability to scan, understand, and apply visual information efficiently is known as processing speed. It requires skills such as visual scanning, short-term visual memory, clerical motor speed, visual-motor coordination, and focus. Processing speed is useful in decision-making, learning, and sustaining attention. Slow processing speed does NOT mean that a child is less capable but often indicates that they will complete certain tasks more slowly. Parents may worry about their kids who display slow processing speed when it is time for them to get a job or choose a career. They question what types of jobs and careers will be available for kids with slow processing speed. Will they be able to keep up, hold a job, and earn a living? In school, those who struggle with processing speed, may need extra time on assignments, struggle to take down notes quickly, or read slowly. In the real world, it will be harder to find accommodations for slow processing speed.
In our fast-paced world, it is unsurprising that parents and educators are concerned about kids who take a long time to complete their school work and process information slowly. Undoubtedly, many 21st century jobs will require multitasking, the capacity to take in information quickly and make lightning-quick decisions- skills often missing in children with slow processing speed. However, there are also many career paths where slow processing speed may be an advantage.
Here are some vocations where children with slow processing speed might thrive in. Notice that these jobs for kids with slow processing speed are suited for individuals who might prefer working alone or in small groups.
- Accountant/Auditor: An auditor examines financial records to ensure accuracy and that taxes are paid efficiently while an accountant is a practitioner who deals with monetary investments or taxes. They ensure that the financial operations of organizations are running effectively. This career path may be good for an individual that processes information at a slower rate because auditing is a meticulous job that requires a person to work carefully and slowly to ensure financial information is correct. It may appeal to those who enjoy working with numbers and independently. This career is less about speed and more about accuracy.
- Antique/Art Restoration: An restorer conserves and repairs various forms of art such as paintings, drawings, sculptures, and furniture that have decayed over time or have been damaged. This career may suit individuals with slow processing speed because it is a time and labor-intensive job that requires a lot of dedication and attention to detail. One can breath new life into old pieces. The same concept applies to those who are artistic and want to pursue being an artist and wish to create.
- Carpenter: A carpenter is a professional who constructs, repairs, or designs building frameworks as well as other objects made from wood, such as furniture. Finish carpenters must be detail-oriented and have strong analytical skills. Further, this job is less about speed and more about constructing materials safely and thoroughly. This job may appeal to those who are creative and thorough in their work.
- Computer Programmer: Computer programmers write codes that enable software to function properly. Due to the independent nature of the work, one can work at their own pace making it a good fit for someone with a slower processing speed.
- Engineer: Engineers use math and science skills to develop answers to technical problems. Often engineers develop new products or are involved with construction. Those with lower processing speeds may enjoy this occupation because it requires analytical skills, and attention to detail, with less of an emphasis on immediate problem-solving. Further, this job often allows people to work at their own pace.
- Inspector: There are a variety of different types of inspectors from restaurant to quality control. Duties can include ensuring health protocols are followed, monitoring operations, or inspecting productions. A career in this field may suit an individual with a slow processing speed because it requires someone who is detail-oriented. It is less about speed and more about the protection of others. Also, it allows one to work at their own pace while ensuring that standards are met.
Keeping these career paths in mind, there is a wide array of jobs and careers that will continue to be available for kids with slow processing speed. These suggestions can help guide teens applying to college, young adults picking a major, or adults who are not happy in their current fields.