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Slow Processing Speed


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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
Posts: 69140
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Posted Jan 03, 2005 at 8:13:01 PM
Subject: Slow Processing Speed

I feel like I should know this, but I am stumped. We are having a meeting for the purpose of reviewing initial evaluation results and deciding whether the child is eligible for Special Education services. Both the school psychologist and I found that this fifth grader has a very slow processing speed which is documented on the WISC IV and timed tests on the WJ-III Tests of Achievement. However, the student did very well on those items he did complete. (Reading Fluency, Writing Samples and the Math Fluency (basic math facts). So, even though there are no discrepant scores on the Reading, Math and Written Language Clusters, there are a couple of discrepant scores on the individual subtests. So, if the team agrees that he qualifies for Special Education, what can actually be done to improve his processing speed?

And then there's the Catch 22--can't qualify for a 504 Plan because he may not be diagnosed with a disability, but he will more than likely be stuck with this slow processing rate for many years to come. How do we help this student?

Marilyn

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Janis
Joined Jun 12, 2003
Posts: 1442

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Posted:Jan 03, 2005 10:00:20 PM

I don't know the answer. But we probably would not place him unless he had a low cluster score in addition to a low timed fluency score. Realistically, I don't think there is anything done in schools that would help that problem. I mean, PACE is an hour a day 6 days a week for several weeks, one-on-one. Kids just aren't going to get the kind of service that would have an effect on overall processing speed, I doubt. The extended time accommodation would probably be the biggest benefit.

Janis

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KTJ
Joined Jun 16, 2003
Posts: 223

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Posted:Jan 04, 2005 6:38:30 PM

Were the academic tests untimed? (Reading Fluency, Writing Samples) How did he do on the TOWL? I often find that students with processing speed issues and executive function skill deficits do poorly on the TOWL since it is timed. This provides you with additional information that is often helpful in developing an education plan.
The other more important point is how does he do with completing assignments within teacher expectations?

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Janis
Joined Jun 12, 2003
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Posted:Jan 04, 2005 9:26:54 PM

Here are some processing speed deficit recommendations:

"Place the emphasis in evaluation on accuracy rather than speed. Because the student has difficulty performing tasks rapidly under pressure, provide him/her with ample time to complete work or shorten the assignments (especially in math operations) so they can be accomplished within the allotted time.
2 Seat the student in the front row near the chalkboard for all copying activities.
3 Recommend visual tracking exercises or computer games that require rapid visual scanning.
4 Provide access to computer programs that target reading speed (Speed Reader). Do the same for math operations (Math Blaster).
5 When copying is necessary, do not require speech or accuracy.
6 Do not require the student to copy problems from his/her math or other textbooks. Instead, provide him/her with clear worksheets that contain only a few problems and plenty of white space."

http://alpha.fdu.edu/psychology/McGee_WJIII.htm

Janis

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Anonymous
Joined Jul 31, 2014
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Posted:Jan 05, 2005 3:29:28 PM

You have described my son currently in 8th grade; he is not in special ed and does not qualify due to slow processing( has high IQ and above average achievement but low scores on fluency esp. math and reading); what would special ed do for a middle schooler? Probably group a bright sudent with kids who process slowly because of lower IQ, behavior problems or ADHD...none of which we wanted. The teachers are pretty much used to students working at different paces, and our son learned he has to ask for extra time, take longer to do homework, and live within the confines of timed testing. We all have strengths and weaknesses, working slowly is his-he needs to learn to adapt, the world will not adapt to him.

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Anonymous
Joined Jul 31, 2014
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Posted:Jan 05, 2005 8:04:10 PM

SAR:

<<The teachers are pretty much used to students working at different paces, and our son learned he has to ask for extra time, take longer to do homework, and live within the confines of timed testing. We all have strengths and weaknesses, working slowly is his-he needs to learn to adapt, the world will not adapt to him>>

It turned out that we did not qualify this student for Special Ed., either.The discrepancy was not there, and the classroom teacher said that he really didn't notice any significant difference in his ability to complete classwork from other students in the class. The teacher also said that he was one of the better students in his class. My worry was not aimed at the classroom, but on the state mastery tests. We have a great bunch of teachers in the intermediate grades that would jump through hoops to help kids.

He was actually referred to Special Ed. by his previous school, and it is more than likely that he would not have been referred. Mom said that there was negative rapport between his last year's teacher and him.

I guess things really did work out.

Thanks for sharing.

Marilyn

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