Tuesday, 30 December 2014

What Do We Know About Brain Processing Speed?  ©Dyslexia Dublin, 2014

Brain processing speed is a deficit common in many of us… it can be comorbid in dyslexics, dyspraxics, dyscalculics, dysgraphics, ADD and those with ADHD.

But if we reverse polarity and base testing/academia on the creative or visual usage of the brain such as art, drama, and technology You get would see very different results.

Most of us with slow text or auditory processing skill sets come out very high in the above order, and those linear left brained will be found lacking.

You find that when a person is out of his or her comfort zone you need to give greater clarity (over learning) to your requirements in the learning process.

As previously mentioned where the academic student is doing  non-core art or when the creative student is doing core studies.

Are you ever given, or have you given, several instructions to someone… Maybe your child or partner?
Have wondered why they have carried out part of the instructions, or maybe none of it?  Maybe you have been given a verbal instruction, like a phone number or directions to a venue and had to ask again?

How are you at remembering names? Not great… why is that!
Most of the children and adults we work with are extremely bright and have high IQ’s, but present with a learning support issue.

Processing speed is not presented as a key issue in many cases… the child with dyspraxia, for instance, might not get resource hours, as this tends to be given to those with dyslexia in the main.

Have you ever been told by your child’s teacher that they are always the last to finish an exercise? Perhaps you have taken a look at their course books and found gaps (take a look, it will tell you a lot!).

Does their writing deteriorate towards the end of their work?  We could be looking at an indication of them rushing to keep up with their peers.

Those with slow processing speed were, in the past, classed as stupid or lazy children.
Quite often being judged, as many are, on core subjects, whereas the opposite was true in the non-core subjects… why?
Children and adults with slow processing speed have gifts that others don’t have, like creating something from nothing.  They need to rehearse things a few times and then they fly.
As parents, have you ever wondered why your child (or pupil, if you’re a teacher) performs really well in school drama production, and yet they underachieve in subjects such as Maths or English?
With someone who has slow processing, rehearsing a play or over-learning is just what they need… how many times do they rehearse… 3-4, -5-6 times?  How many times are they shown a Maths equation or a piece of poetry… Once maybe twice?
There is part of the problem.
Have you noticed your child dragging their heels with homework or putting their books together for school?

Maybe you have asked them to do something whilst they watched television, and you felt like they were ignoring you?  You haven’t got their attention… try standing in front of the telly, and they will listen.
Have you ever sent them shopping and they come back without some of the items?  Visual  stimuli are great in helping them to get this right.  Make flash cards… For shopping, flash cards of items are easy to do… download pictures of lemons, eggs, milk, etc.
For school, lay out their books on the table and place a tag with the day of the week alongside the books they need, take a photo and print it.
Take a picture of them with their uniform on, for dressing.  
We can also introduce this with many other routines like brushing hair, teeth, etc.
I suggest to many parents to introduce colour coded weekly calendar of their timetable and this improves processing and reduces problems with forgetting books, etc.
A good way of getting the right books for the right day...Place their school books down on the table in day order...Mon...Tues and type the day in say 48 font (comic sans) and cut it out, place it on their books and get them to take a photo on their phone or yours.
Try and talk to your child’s teacher, and maybe they will give them the homework on paper or early in the lesson, as the end of a class or day becomes hurried and noisy.

I have seen a variety of approaches that can be eased with the use of technology.
Supporting areas such as these (some indirectly); in my last post there was an internal internet that the students could log onto; most teachers like myself used to log the homework and course work.
Indeed  if a student was off sick they could work at home or catch up later.
We as parents/carers and teachers need to look very carefully at our children and identify this and if we feel there is a problem get it diagnosed!
Governments and those at the top of the Education Departments need to be aware of all those that present with processing disorders, and include this where necessary; when it comes to giving extra time in exams and resourcing during term time.

We support so many students with dyslexia, often with improvement  end up over the bar, (might I say the bar is set too high in the first instance); students may still have slow processing speed.
So often we see this not being taken into account, likewise with many dyspraxics who get little or no resource.

Can you remember being back at school and the teacher writing down copious notes on the board and at a fair pace?  She or he had no problem with flow…why?
Well, for one, not many teachers would have slow processing speed, and they would have also written that many times before.
New teachers tend to go much slower as this is new to them too and they would write slower, thus the pupils with slow processing speed would have a greater chance of keeping up.

I would urge teachers to make a cross reference with a student who is struggling in the written subjects and excels in the kinaesthetic areas such as Home Economics, Woodwork or Drama.

Maybe the Home Economics teacher wonders why the child is great in practical (stimuli and repetition) and poor in the written/theory side of the subject (lack of stimuli and repetition).
Have you ever looked at your child’s Report and wondered why the Art teacher says great things and the English teacher appears concerned, or maybe writes in a negative way?
Homework will improve when it's based on what the child has done during the day.  Use a sand timer (say 15 minute stints) and allow them to have a very small break between subjects.

I think schools should move to giving fewer subjects each evening, but more of the same.  We will not only reduce the weight of the school bag, but also reduce the risk of forgetting a long list of homework and would also improve retention.

Short term memory work can make a big difference and making all of the subjects kinaesthetically based will help.

NB. This information is from personal experience and research and also partly sourced through the work of others. It is purely for improving the understanding of dyslexia and offering helpful advice. Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2014

We have a great products to help with auditory processing and for improving short term memory and much more at our online store.
http://dyslexiadublin.mygostore.co.uk/awesome-auditory-activities.html


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I hope you found this article useful… there are many more, including one on homework, on our Blog(www.dyslexiadublin.blogspot.ie)

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