Postsecondary Education

processing speed?

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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
Posts: 69136
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Posted Sep 06, 2001 at 3:24:56 AM
Subject: processing speed?

My question concerns an adult student diagnosed with ADD.
While the student has seen improvement with medication, behavior management, and
environment modification in areas like focusing on tasks, staying organized, and
planning time, she still has marked difficulties at the college level. These
mainifest particularly as poor reading comprehension/trouble learning from
books, slow expression (written and oral), difficulty following directions
(written and oral), and trouble remembering math formulas. The student does not
seem to have the classic symptoms of dyslexia since she can decode quickly,
phonetically or using sight words, and her spelling is good. She had some
testing that also revealed very strong visual-spatial skills, so NLD seems
unlikely. The student has subjectively described the problem as seeming like a
difficulty connecting the words (in graphical or auditory forms) with their
meanings (same for math symbols) despite having a very high IQ and no problems
with "superficial" decoding. The student has also mentioned that there seems to
be a time lag in processing what is heard or read - she can "hear" or "read" the
words quickly, but they are not fully processed, and she cannot easily moderate
her reading speed to match her rate of comprehension.
Since various therapies have helped many of the major ADD symptoms, is it
possible that these continuing problems
are related to a subtle learning disability? It seems like there may be some
processing speed issues since the ability to comprehend is there, it's just not
happening at the rate it seems like it should given the student's motivation,
preparation, and overall intelligence. The student is also acutely aware that
problems exist, but doesn't know to what to attribute them nor how to get around
them. I know there are tests like "rapid naming" of letters and numbers, which
can be problematic for some with LDs, but is it also possible that a student who
does not have difficulty at the "recognition" level could have a processing
problem at the "association of visually- or auditorially-recognized word with
its meaning" level (for both decoding and encoding)? Is this a language problem,
or something else? How could such a deficit be substantiated and remediated
and/or circumvented in a college environment? What teaching strategies might be
employed to help the student "access" the material (I am particularly interested
in strategies applicable to advanced science instruction and am already aware of the
student's "visual" and "kinesthetic" preferences)? What strategies could you
recommend for the student?

Thank you.

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Joined Sep 23, 2020
Posts: 69136

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Posted:Apr 13, 2002 11:24:16 AM

Sounds familiar to me.

I was in a car accident in 1989 and have had quite a few problems because of it. The timing lag described turned out to be a major problem for me. Dr. Joan Burleigh at CSU's Center for Central Auditory Processing Research has been very instumental in helping me obtain my dream of getting a Ph.D. Before she helped me with strategies to limit the amount of auditory stimulous that I recieved, I could not focus my eyes very well, direct small motor movements (writing), speak (knew what I wanted to say but could'nt get the words out), maintain balance, . . . .. As it turns out, my eyes and my ears do not work very well together.

While I still have to monitor the amount of stimulous (e.g. be careful not to get overtired, moderate length of time studying, and more) I was able to attend classes when I developed the strategy of using an Easy Listener (augment sound in my most prominent ear--in my case, my right ear) and a filtered earplug in my less dominant left ear to somewhat eliminate the timing-lag. By eliminating some of the information overload, it helped me focus my eyes better and gain better control of fine motor movements. Although, I still have problems in an environment that is too busy, I have managed to find quiet places on campus to recooperate, and have been able to negotiate take-home exams and assignments. Its all about knowing yourself very well, and having the supports you need.

I hope this information helps.

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