Slow Processing Speed

Blogger Pip Else – Paediatric OT

September 2018


We recently posted a link to an article about slow processing speed on our Facebook page-


Processing speed

This is so important when thinking about starting a new school or returning to school after the summer holidays. If a child has difficulties with processing new information, starting a new school such as moving into secondary or from infants to juniors can make their brains go into overload.

The link above talks about the day in the life of a child with slow processing. It is a useful reminder of how to support children who experience this difficulty. In particular this article highlights the area below:



Allow plenty of time. Bite size information and give the child time to process and respond appropriately without rushing them.




Making decisions can be difficult. This often links with time pressure as they feel rushed and therefore often don’t make the right decision; which can lead to disappointment.




Often, those with slow processing speed have reduced time and capacity to add information to their working memory log, so can be forgetful.

Help by providing clear written instructions and limit the information they are required to remember over a short period of time; provide regular repetition throughout the day.



Remember that time pressure can be stressful and anxiety provoking for those with slow processing speed. Ensure that they are supported to thrive in the way that suits their learning style the best.

Build self-esteem by setting individual test targets rather than whole class rewards!


Written Notes

Provide written notes and plans for children with slow processing. This will help them organise and remember what is expected of them.




1:1 time

Social cues and conversations can be hard to follow when you experience slow processing. Allow time and encourage 1:1 time after the conversation to recap and ensure everyone understands what is expected of them.

Children with slow processing should be encouraged to ask questions to help them clarify any missed information.


The key to helping those with slow processing is to give them time and reduce the pressure. Help them to build up an awareness of time by using timers and planners to begin to develop their self-help skills.