Nurturing Processing Speed: Part 3 - Strategies for Support and Development | Dyslexia UK

Nurturing Processing Speed: Part 3 – Strategies for Support and Development

March 25, 2024 Keir Williams Comments Off

Welcome to the third and final installment of our blog series on processing speed. In the previous two weeks, we explored the signs and causes of processing speed difficulties. Now, in this concluding post, we shift our focus to practical strategies and techniques that can be employed to support individuals facing challenges in this area.

Three Pillars of Focus

When seeking to develop a child’s processing speed, three main focuses come to the forefront:

1. Accept

It is crucial to embrace a child’s specific learning strengths and difficulties. Collaboratively working with them to understand and develop these attributes forms the foundation for effective support.

2. Accommodate

Identifying teaching strategies that accommodate a person’s learning needs is essential. Creating an environment that supports their unique requirements ensures optimal conditions for learning and development.

3. Advocate

Being a champion for the child is paramount. Advocating for their needs, explaining their challenges to others, and ensuring that their educational and personal environments comprehend and provide appropriate support are crucial aspects of the advocacy pillar.

As individuals grow, understanding their own needs becomes essential. Learning to advocate for oneself by requesting necessary accommodations, whether in school, university, or the workplace, is a vital step toward independence.

Strategies for Developing Processing Speed

  1. Practice

Just like our bodies improve with targeted training in sports, our brains get faster with specific and focused practice. Repeating tasks enhances muscle memory and develops neurological pathways, as discussed in the previous blog post. Regular and concentrated practice in a specific area of improvement enhances automaticity, reducing the need for intense concentration and increasing processing speed.

Regardless of the skill being practiced, whether it’s dressing oneself, riding a bike, or mastering times tables, frequent and focused practice accelerates proficiency.

  1. Develop Efficiency

Encourage individuals to focus on tasks, working smarter to become more efficient. Teach them effective task planning, the creation of task lists, and the elimination of unnecessary elements. Emphasize maintaining focus on the goal, avoiding distractions, and staying on topic. Demonstrating how efficiency can save time while improving results builds confidence in spending time on the right tasks.

  1. Planning and Organizing

Planning and organizational skills are crucial for effective task execution. Individuals often learn these skills through trial and error as they grow up, as they are rarely explicitly taught in schools. For those with processing difficulties, understanding task requirements and visualizing the steps involved can be challenging. Assist them in estimating task duration, breaking down tasks into manageable parts, and monitoring and tracking time spent. These skills not only enhance focus but also contribute to better time estimation in future endeavors.

  1. Support at School

Collaboration with the child’s school is essential. Discuss the child’s needs with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo), who may have access to visual and processing speed assessments. The school can implement various strategies and support, including extra time for tasks, visual reminders, and simplified instructions. Access arrangements, such as extra time in exams, can be applied for based on evidence of using extra time in class and processing speed difficulties.

  1. Fun Games

Engaging in fun and positive games is an enjoyable way to develop processing speed. It’s crucial to ensure that these games maintain a non-competitive atmosphere, fostering a sense of enjoyment rather than frustration. Some suggestions include:

These games promote quick thinking and enhance cognitive agility. Further games that develop processing speed are available at the Dyslexia UK shop

  1. Remain Positive

Finally, maintaining a positive outlook is paramount. Many successful individuals with processing speed difficulties have excelled in various fields. Encourage your child to focus on interests, hobbies, and career paths that align with their unique skills. Setting realistic expectations, along with advocacy to ensure proper support, enables your child to maximize their potential.

As we conclude this series on processing speed, it is essential to recognise that processing difficulties do not define a person’s capabilities. With the right strategies, support, and a positive mindset, individuals can overcome challenges and thrive in their unique strengths. Remember to advocate for the support your child needs and empower them to navigate the world with confidence and resilience.

If you are considering an assessment, feel free to contact us to discuss your needs.

Thank you for joining us on this journey through the intricacies of processing speed, and we wish you and your child success in their developmental endeavours.