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Talking to Your Kids About Their ADHD or Learning Disability

Finding out there is a reason for difficulties in school comes as a relief for some children. While they may know they are having trouble learning, they may not know why they struggle or that other children may have difficulties as well. Some children are relieved to know that there is a word for what they are experiencing, such as “dyslexia” or “ADHD”. Others may have heard these labels couched in negative terms. In either case, make sure your child comes to realize that learning differently is not a negative personality trait, but a unique and remarkable way of being in the world that others may need help understanding.

Talking with your child about their learning challenges can help build their confidence and teach them how to advocate for themselves in school and in life.  At Turning Point we’ve seen many children and young adults who have embraced their unique qualities and are not ashamed to discuss their learning differences, including whatever label they’ve been assigned. We build on that by letting them know that the label is only a word used to help others understand better what they need. It does not define who they are. In fact, we have found that the individual’s we see with learning differences are often the hardest working, most determined people around, and this ethic often develops after they’ve become acquainted with both their challenges and strengths. When the child is left to wonder “what’s wrong with me?” this can lead to underachievement, anxiety, and low self-esteem. We also help our clients understand that everyone thinks in unique ways, and everyone has struggles of one kind or another. They are not alone.

To help your child develop a healthy understanding of their way of learning, begin gradually, talking about different ways people learn and then talk about their specific challenges as well as challenges you experience as a parent when it comes to learning.  Informal settings at unplanned times like a ride in the car or sharing a snack can be great times to casually check in and keep the conversation comfortable.  Emphasize that because your child learns differently, teachers and parents may not understand how to teach them. Let your child know you are open to their ideas about how they learn best. Always remind them of things they do well and that “learning differently” is only one part of who they are.  Your child should know both their strengths and needs. Gently point out when they do something well by using the simple statement, “I noticed…” or “did you see what just happened there?” and describe the behavior you observe.  Also notice when they struggle by simply stating, “I can see this is very hard for you.” I know you can get through this and I’m here to help.”

Learning how to talk about a learning disability or ADHD is the first step to being able to advocate for themselves now and in the future. You can help your child learn how to ask for help by reminding yourself to listen. Let them think of what might work and when appropriate, let them make decisions. If they struggle coming up with ideas, offer a couple suggestions and ask them to choose which sounds like it would work best for them.

Parent Network has many resources to help you support your child with a learning disability. Follow this link for information: https://parentnetworkwny.org/resource-library/learning-disabilities/

Hot Topic Tips:

Behavior– Whenever you can, tell your child what you want your child to do not what they should stop doing. For example; instead of stop screaming, use- shhh whisper. Instead of don’t run, try- use your walking feet. Instead of stop picking at your food, try- put a bite in your mouth. Help your child avoid becoming overwhelmed. When learning how to do new things independently, break tasks into small steps, working on them one at a time.

Special Education- Talk to your child’s teacher to discuss ways to make sure your child’s learning challenges do not get in the way of showing what they know. Adjustments to how information is presented or shared are called accommodations and can be written into Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan. They could be a simple change in location or time given for a test. There are also things you can do at home to make learning easier. Parent Network is a great resource.

Source info:

Parent Network (2016) Helping Your Child. Retrieved from: https://parentnetworkwny.org/hot-topics-learning-disabilities-helping-child/

Books for children with ADHD and LD:

The Survival Guide for Kids with LD (Learning Differences)

“Kids need to know they’re smart and can learn, they just learn differently.”

But It’s Not My Fault

“Join Noodle on his journey as he learns not to blame others or try to find fault; but instead practices accepting responsibility and turns his very rough day into a very good NEW day!”

Hank Zipzer series

“Hank is a young boy growing up with ADHD and dyslexia who constantly finds himself in outrageous situations- like the time his report card ended up in a salami! The books are full of humor and any kid who learning differently will really identify with Hank.”

Taking Dyslexia to School

“This book explains what’s going on inside a child with dyslexia. Throughout the story the main character, Matt, explains his difficulties with reading and math, and describes the steps he took to learn about the nature of his learning challenges and to get help at school.”

Ellie Bean the Drama Queen

“A children’s book about sensory processing disorder (SPD), a condition that affects at least 40% of kids with ADHD and/or autism. Ellie Bean seems to get scared over nothing and can’t handle simple tasks because of her SPD. Her mother takes her to an occupational therapist, who helps her put her feelings into words and feel better.”

Free Association: Where My Mind Goes During Science Class

“Emily is smart but can’t focus in class. Her teacher tries to keep Emily’s thoughts on track, but soon changes her tune when she learned Emily is most creative when distracted. Free Association targets “Twice-Exceptional” kids; children with gifted levels of intelligence along with ADHD and/or learning disabilities. It celebrates their unique gifts while acknowledging the difficulties they face.

Cory Stories: A Kid’s Book About Living with ADHD

“Cory has ADHD. In short stories and poems, he described how it affects his day-to-day life, his relationships, and his school work. Cory Stories offers age-appropriate introductions to ADHD treatments like medication, counseling, and behavior modifications. If your child has difficulty coming to terms with his ADHD or his treatment plan, this is a great book to help him understand he isn’t alone.”

Pay Attention, Emily Brown!

“The narrator’s over-the-top efforts to get her daughter’s attention will have any family smiling and laughing. Pay Attention, Emily Brown sets the perfect tone for a non-threatening discussing about paying attention.”

Aloha Island: The Story of the Stones

“Main character Eddie Akamai struggles with a learning disability that makes it difficult for him to read. But with the help of his friends, family, and some fun alphabet-bearing plants, he overcomes his fears and saves the magical Aloha Island. Children struggling with learning disabilities will recognize themselves in Eddie and grow in confidence as he does in Aloha Island.”

Get Ready for Jetty! My Journal About ADHD and Me

“This is an engaging, visually appealing approach to ADHD, told through the eyes of a 9-year old girl- perfect for girls from 9-13 and a true-to-life introduction to living, learning, and succeeding with ADHD.”

 

Books for tweens and teens with ADHD and LD:

Trout and Me

“A fictional story about 11-year old Ben, who gets into trouble because he has ADHD. But Ben, who also has dyslexia is not a bad kid. Then a new boy named Trout shows up in class. Trout also has ADHD but is a much bigger troublemaker than Ben. Can Ben convince the adults that it’s the ADHD, not Trout, creating problems? This story for kids 9-12 takes a frank look at ADHD and gives kids a lot to ponder.”

Bluefish

“Bluefish, by Pat Schmatz, is a fiction book about eighth grader Travis, who can’t read. In this witty novel for ages 12 and up, Travis finds an unusual friend and a determined teacher who both help him succeed at his new school. The book is about the power of literature—and the power of friendship.”

Backwards Forward: My Journey Through Dyslexia

“The nonfiction book Backwards Forward: My Journey Through Dyslexia, by Catherine Hirschman, is a firsthand account of living with dyslexia. The book was cowritten by Hirschman, a 32-year-old woman with learning issues, and her mother. The authors offer a personal window into their lives, beginning in early childhood and continuing through adulthood. Of special interest are Hirschman’s descriptions of how her struggles with dyslexia affected her relationship with friends and family. The book is good for older kids (middle and high school) as well as parents.”

ADHD in HD: Brains Gone Wild

“ADHD in HD: Brains Gone Wild, by Jonathan Chesner, is a fun and practical nonfiction book about living with ADHD. The book features bright colors and designs. More than 60 short chapters address distinct topics, such as dating, homework and family life. It explores how kids with ADHD can adjust to or accomplish things that don’t come easily. This book is for kids 13 and up.”

Caged in Chaos: A Dyspraxic Guide to Breaking Free

“This nonfiction book was written by a Victoria Biggs, a teenage girl with dyspraxia, which affects motor skill development and often exists with learning issues. Caged in Chaos: A Dyspraxic Guide to Breaking Free is a positive, practical guide for teens struggling with the physical, social, emotional and learning issues caused by dyspraxia. In a conversational style, Biggs describes the primary effects of her learning difference; disorganization, clumsiness and poor short-term memory. And she also talks about the bullying, low self-esteem and loneliness she endures. This book is for kids 13 and up.”

Learning Disabilities: The Ultimate Teen Guide

“Learning Disabilities: The Ultimate Teen Guide, by Penny Hutchins Paquette and Cheryl Gerson Tuttle, is a highly readable nonfiction book. It offers teens a solid base of information about learning disabilities. The book includes definitions, coping strategies, tips on interpreting test results, legal considerations and postsecondary school options. Each chapter includes a description of how it feels to have a particular disability. It describes symptoms and offers practical suggestions and resources. Profiles, success stories and quotes are sprinkled throughout.”

“College Success for Students with Learning Disabilities”

“As high school students with LD start to think about college, how do they plan for their college years? There are no IEPs in college, so a student’s skills in self-advocacy become even more important. College Success for Students with Learning Disabilities, by Cynthia Simpson and Vicky Spencer, provides guidance and practical strategies specifically for students with learning disabilities so that they can make the most of their college experience.

The books in this slideshow provide kids with great ideas for addressing the challenges of their learning and attention issues. There are other ways to help, too. Consider finding your child a mentor. And look for ways to boost your child’s self-esteem.”

 

Happy Reading,

Turning Point Team

SUMMER CAMPS FOR KIDS 2018

It’s almost that time of year (dare we say…Summer!) Start planning your child’s summer camp experience now. Have a hard time looking for camps in the Colorado area? We’ve got you covered. We’ve included summer camps for Gifted, LD/ADHD children as well as general summer camps that include science, nature, or the arts. (Please be aware that we do not endorse these camps but rather provide a list based on our online research. If you have any experience good or bad to share regarding camps on our list, let us know at iqtestingdenver@gmail.com )

Useful tips to get you started:

  • Include your child in the process; their “buy in” is essential, ensuring you both get the most benefit out of the program you select.
  • There are many quality summer programs with excellent instruction and facilities, so narrow down your options to a few and then explore as much as you can about each one.
GIFTED

 Mad Science of Colorado

Ages 6-11.  Mad Science camps offer a daily combination of in-class discovery, outdoor games, physical activities and hands-on applications of the scientific principles presented! From biology, forensics and astronomy to chemistry, physics, engineering and more, elementary-aged campers are invited to explore a wide range of exciting concepts with Mad Science! Save 15% with coupon code DPCAMP18 at the time of registration!

Date info: Camps are hosted Monday-Friday with both half-day (9:00AM-12:00PM) or full-day (9:00AM-4:00PM) options. Please visit our website for a list of dates by location.

Cost info: $199 half-day, $289 full-day, $319 Robotics

Website: colorado.madscience.org/campexperience.aspx

 PG Retreats

PG Retreat is a community of families with profoundly gifted children and teens with measured IQ above 145. Although every child is unique and beautiful in his or her own way, profoundly gifted children often have a difficult time finding true peers within their day-to-day communities. PG Retreat helps to form connections and friendships, and to share resources and experience.  PGR brings children and teenagers together for shared connections and community.

Website: https://pgretreat.org/

 JA Business Week

Open to students in grades 9-12. Forget everything you think you know about summer camp. JA Business Week, presented by Arrow Electronics, Inc., is like nothing you’ve experienced before. It’s a knowledge-building, confidence-boosting, network-growing, college-application standout of a summer experience. And if you aren’t convinced quite yet, you should know that you’ll stay in the dorms on the beautiful campus of Johnson & Wales University in Denver, giving you sneak peek into college life. Unlike any camp, this unique program allows you to explore leadership concepts and build confidence alongside more than 120 of Denver’s most dynamic and accomplished business leaders. In addition to interactive workshops on marketing, business ethics and budgeting, the week culminates in a competition rivaled only by “Shark Tank.” Students attending for the first time will work on designing a new cell phone case and marketing plan for OtterBox, an electronics accessory company headquartered in Fort Collins. Returning students will work as consultants for Arrow Electronics. Students returning for the third or fourth time will dive deeply into what it takes to start their own business right now, with the guidance of three young entrepreneurs who figured it all out on their own.

Specialty: JA Business Week is a unique program that allows students to explore leadership concepts and build confidence alongside Denver’s most dynamic and accomplished business leaders.

Cost info: The cost to attend JA Business Week is $550. Tuition assistance is available.

Website: JABusinessWeek.org

University of Northern Colorado Summer Enrichment Program for GT students

Summer Enrichment Program (SEP)

SEP is a two-week residential program at the University of Northern Colorado consisting of high-interest, hands-on, brains-on courses for gifted, talented, and creative students entering grades 5 through 10.

Courses are developed by specialists in gifted education and/or in specialized content areas as part of the university’s Center for the Education and Study of Gifted, Talented, Creative Learners.

Curriculum is developed and differentiated according to basic principles of gifted education, providing a unique opportunity for enrichment not ordinarily possible in regular classrooms.

Visit their website at: www.unco.edu/summer-enrichment-program/summer-enrichment-program.aspx

Enrichment Corner CSM Summer Program & Camp Neuro/Camp Cardiac: https://tech.mines.edu/summer/index.html

Wings Aerospace Academy Charter: Parent Information Nights: https://wingsaerospaceacademy.org/

For Parents/Adults

Gifted Development Center Presents Gifted Women Symposium June 2, 2018 www.gifteddevelopment.com/events/gifted-women-symposium-denver

For Teachers

Gifted Education Summer Symposium: Underrepresented Populations June 28-29, 2018 https://www.cde.state.co.us/gt/giftededsummersymposiumflyer

For an extensive list of interesting summer camps check out the Jefferson County Association of Gifted and Talented website’s Summer Programs 2018 JAGC http://www.jeffcogifted.org/summer-programs.html

Missoula Children’s Theatre Tour

The primary goal of MCT – indeed, the organization’s mission – is the development of lifeskills in children through participation in the performing arts. Within each MCT cast, girls and boys are equal; the disabled become able; the shy experiment with bravery; the slow are rehearsed to perfection; and the gifted become part of the whole. The lesson they learn is that all of them are necessary for the show to go on. Few arenas exist where responsibility is taught and learned so clearly. MCT provides a unique opportunity to learn the lessons of group dynamics while excelling as an individual – a lesson from art that carries into life. MCT strives to use participation in the performing arts as a vehicle to develop lifeskills including social skills, communication skills, self-discipline, a strong work ethic, an understanding of the team concept and self-esteem.

Visit their website at: http://mctinc.org/mct-tour/missoula-childrens-theatre-tour/

What is a tour residency week?

A tour team arrives in a given town in their “little red truck” loaded with a set, lights, costumes, props and make-up, everything it takes to put on a play…except the cast. The team holds an open audition and casts 50-60 local students to perform in the production. The show is rehearsed throughout the week and two public performances are presented at the end of the week.

Colorado Tour Cities and Dates:

CO ARVADA MEIKLEJOHN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 04/23/2018 04/28/2018 GULLIVER’S TRAVELS
CO AURORA ALTURA ELEMENTARY 05/14/2018 05/19/2018 TREASURE ISLAND
CO CASTLE PINES CASTLE PINES ARTS & CULT FOUND 07/16/2018 07/21/2018 THE PIED PIPER
CO COLORADO SPRINGS ROCKRIMMON ELEMENTARY PTO 10/08/2018 10/13/2018 KING ARTHURS QUEST
CO DENVER BROMWELL SCHOOL 11/05/2018 11/10/2018 BLACKBEARD THE PIRATE
CO GOLDEN RALSTON ELEMENTARY 10/01/2018 10/06/2018 ROBIN HOOD
CO GUNNISON GUNNISON ARTS CENTER 08/06/2018 08/11/2018 KING ARTHURS QUEST
CO LOVELAND CITY OF LOVELAND – RIALTO THEATER 06/25/2018 06/30/2018 THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA
CO NORTHGLENN NORTHGLENN ARTS & HUMANITIES 08/06/2018 08/11/2018 THE PIED PIPER
CO PUEBLO SANGRE DE CRISTO ARTS CENTER 07/30/2018 08/04/2018 THE PIED PIPER
CO RIFLE NEW UTE THEATER SOCIETY 07/23/2018 07/28/2018 THE PIED PIPER
CO WESTMINSTER N METRO ARTS ALLI/HYLAND HILLS P&R 06/11/2018 06/16/2018 THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA
CO WIGGINS WIGGINS ELEMENTARY 05/07/2018 05/12/2018 THE SNOW QUEEN
LEARNING DISABILITY/ADHD

Questions you may want answered before registering:

  • How will your child’s disability be accommodated?
  • What other types of disabilities are represented at the camp?
  • How many campers attend, and what is the staff-to-camper ratio?
  • What are the ages of counselors, and what training do they have?
  • Who dispenses ADHD medication? When and where? Are their doctors on staff?
  • How do camp counselors handle discipline?
  • Is academic tutoring available? Is it individualized?
  • Do counselors set goals for campers? How is progress tracked and rewarded?

The Learning Camp
The Learning Camp is specifically for kids with learning disabilities such as ADHD, dyslexia, and other LD challenges. The program provides traditional summer camp adventures for boys and girls ages 7 to 14 combined with carefully designed academic programs. Their mission is helping kids with learning disabilities build self-esteem, independence, and academic success.
Website: learningcamp.com
Email: information@learningcamp.com
Phone: 970-524-2706
Location: Vail, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Village

Rocky Mountain Village in Empire, Colorado is regarded as one of the top Easterseals camps in the country. Rocky Mountain Village is fully accessible and used by more than 800 children and adults with disabilities during the summer camp sessions. Campers enjoy swimming, fishing, overnight camping, outdoor cooking, travel camp, day trips, arts & crafts, sports and recreation, hiking, dances, music & drama, horse-back riding, and riding the zip-line.

Website: http://www.easterseals.com/co/our-programs/camping-recreation/rocky-mountain-village.html

For more information, contact camp at campinfo@eastersealscolorado.org or by phone at 303-569-2333.

Super Star Summer Camp 2018

We are very excited to invite you to be a part of our supportive community and join us for our 4th year of our life-changing, confidence-building, literacy camp. We are offering a program created specifically to build and improve skills in reading and spelling, with additional support in writing and math. This camp is designed for students entering 1st – 9th grade who are identified with dyslexia or who otherwise struggle with reading, spelling, writing and math.

Dates: June 11th – July 13th, 2018 – Southeast Denver

Location: 1091 S. Parker Road   (Galilee Baptist Church)

Dates: June 18th – July 20th, 2018 – Lakewood/Littleton

Location: 3898 South Teller Street  (Denver Christian School)

(This location will feature options for will full and half day  camp so that all of you children can enjoy camp at the same location)

Session Times: 8:15am -11:30am or 9:15am -12:30am

​* We meet with each child individually pre-camp to determine grouping.

Website: https://www.everychildreading.net/superstar-summer-camp

Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center Camps

Summer adventure camps with the BOEC bring children with disabilities and special needs into the outdoors to inspire self-awareness and self-confidence.  The BOEC believes in safe, dynamic and invigorating activities that are in harmony with the natural world.  We adapt our programs to accommodate many ability levels and emphasize care and compassion on all of our adventures.  Activities include ropes courses, rock climbing, rafting, canoeing, handcycling, camping, fishing and many others.  Campers stay in our beautiful Griffith Lodge high above Breckenridge.

Website: https://www.boec.org/programs/open-enrollment-courses/wilderness-camps-for-dd/

GENERAL; Science, Nature, Arts & Theater

University of Colorado Science Discovery

Science Discovery offers a wide variety of classes for ages 4-16. Math, science and technology are taught with hands-on activities that are fun and informative. Their enthusiastic, knowledgeable and experienced teachers utilize university and community resources to produce a stimulating environment, both indoors and out, and a variety of field experiences. New classes are offered each summer.

Website: http://sciencediscovery.colorado.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Summer-2018-Brochure-WEBSITE.pdf

South Platte Park Summer Nature Programs

Discover how much fun nature can be by playing in the forests and ponds. Naturalists guide activities and nature games, provide a safe atmosphere and spark curiosity.

Description: Nature camp experiences at South Platte Park include goldpanning, crawdad catching, insect sweeping, pioneer princess adventures, geocaching, wildlife watching, Jr. Rangers, Kids Nature Clubhouse and much more.

Dates/days/times vary depending on the program.

Cost info: Camps vary from $9 – $235 depending on choice

Website: ssprd.org/Catalog.aspx?pc=62f1b191-45b9-484c-9188-e414909b0913

E-mail victorias@ssprd.org

Space Voyage Summer Camp

Located in Lakewood Colorado, Space Voyage programs bring to life the importance of math and science, reinforces concepts identified in academic content standards, build confidence through genuine achievement and offer a fun place for kids to imagine the possibilities, learn and grow.

Website: http://www.spacevoyage.com

2018 Brochure: https://www.spacevoyage.com/sum-2018/pdf/space-voyage-brochure.pdf

Denver Botanic Gardens

The Gardens has camps for kids only that are full of garden explorations, games, activities, cooking and plants to take home. Grow your mind, plant a new friend and dig into nature with week-long camps at Denver Botanic Gardens and Chatfield Farms.

Date info: Garden Camps: March 26-30, June 11-15, June 18-22, June 25-29 Farm Camps: June 11-15, June 18-22, June 25-29

Cost info: $270 non-member, $250 member

Website: botanicgardens.org

Arts HUB Camp

The Arts Hub runs art related camps in the spring and a variety of high quality theater, dance, art and film camps in the summer. Our new 12,000 square foot facility includes art and dance studios and a full, professional 200-seat theater.

Date info: March 26-29; June 5-Aug 31. 9 to noon or 9 am to 4 pm, plus before and after camp care options.

Cost info: $35-$395

Website: artunder.org

Chess Camp (24th Annual)

June and July camps where students learn chess logical-thinking and strategic-planning. All ages and abilities…multiple sections. 24th Annual Denver Rocky Mountain Chess Camps. Learn scorekeeping, etiquette, tournament preparation, logical-thinking and strategic planning. Workshops, tournaments. Full and half-day options, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Multiple dates. See website.

Website: ColoradoMasterChess.com

Cookies & Cursive: Penmanship for Youth

Ages 8-12. Give your child the “write” advantage in school and life with traditional and expert cursive instruction. Discover the joys of cursive and quality penmanship through our fun and personalized program.

Date info: Camps are in 2-week blocks

Cost info: $225 for tuition and materials per 2-week camp

Website: cookiesandcursive.com

2018 Youth Journalism Day

This is a one-day, intense and fun learning experience for kids ages 8 to 14. Here’s a great chance for budding journalists, writers and photographers to spend the day with professionals learning about: What makes a good story Getting ready for an interview Asking good questions Writing & photography tips Campers will work to produce a special Colorado Kids issue to be published July 31st.

Website: ColoradoNIE.com

AeroCamp

AeroCamp is a weeklong summer day program for middle school students age 13-15. AeroCampers learn about airplanes, flight, and careers in aviation and aerospace through hands-on activities and learning experiences.

Specialty: Aviation and Aerospace Education

Cost Info: $795

Website: aspenflyingclub.com/aerocamp

Silicon STEM Academy Summer Camps

Silicon STEM Academy Summer Camps are a fun, hands-on and interactive way to keep young minds active during the summer months. We offer camps for every interest in subjects like Programming, Game Design, Robotics, Digital Media, Engineering, Science, E-Textiles and more! Camps are offered in a week-long, half-day format, with full-day options available. We now offer camps in three convenient locations and Colorado parents voted our STEM camps the #1 Family Favorite in 2017! Check out our ALL NEW weeklong, full-day STEM Academies for advanced students!

Cost info: Camp prices range from $295 to $350

Website: siliconstemacademy.com/summer-camps

Lighthouse Writers Workshop

Lighthouse Writers Workshop supports creative discovery and renewal by providing the writing workshops and writer services to young authors of all abilities. Talks, events, summer camps, and youth workshops strive to develop the writer in everyone. Ages: 9 and up.

Visit their website at: https://lighthousewriters.org/workshops

Bits, Bytes, & Bots

Bits, Bytes & Bots offers a variety of classes including robotics, stop-motion animated movie making and game creation. “Our curriculum is always on the cutting edge of the technology and our robotics program utilizes the Lego® Mindstorm® robots. People ask us what the difference is between our programs and other technology programs available and we proudly tell them that WE TEACH!”

Visit their website at: http://denverco.bitsbytesbots.com/?page_id=33

Stanford University Youth Camps

Inspired Learning in a Great Environment!

Volleyball, science, soccer, digital media! Whatever your interest, Stanford’s Summer Youth Camps have you covered. Choose from over 20 youth sports camps and 30 youth academic programs, available to students age 7-18. Our world-class athletic facilities, academic resources and acclaimed leaders are here to make your summer youth camp experience special. Besides a fun and inspiring learning environment, Stanford’s summer academic or athletic youth camps provide students the opportunity to:

  • Make new friends
  • Gain valuable skills
  • Broaden their outlook on life
  • Experience Stanford’s exceptional services

Visit their website at: https://rdeapps.stanford.edu/camps/

Happy Camping,

~Turning Point Assessments Team

SLOW PROCESSING SPEED (referred to as SPS in this article)

Understanding what slow processing is and the role it may play in your child’s life is essential. Slow processing speed is not an official diagnosis in and of itself, but it can be an associated feature of ADHD or a learning disability. Children with slow processing speed do benefit from effective interventions, so it’s important that it be properly determined and addressed. When it’s not addressed appropriately, other problems may emerge or it can lead to low self-esteem or problems at school.

What Processing Speed Is

“Processing speed is the pace at which you take in information, make sense of it and begin to respond. This information can be visual, such as letters and numbers. It can also be auditory, such as spoken language.”

“Having slow processing speed has nothing to do with how smart kids are—just how fast they can take in and use information. It may take kids who struggle with processing speed a lot longer than other kids to perform tasks, both school-related and in daily life.”

“For example, when a child with slow processing speed sees the letters that make up the word house, she may not immediately know what they say. She has to figure out what strategy to use to understand the meaning of the group of letters in front of her. It’s not that she can’t read. It’s just that a process that’s quick and automatic for other kids her age takes longer and requires more effort for her.” See the full article here: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/information-processing-issues/processing-speed-what-you-need-to-know

What Slow Processing Speed Looks Like

Slow processing speed can affect kids in the classroom, at home and during activities like sports. Kids might have trouble with:

  • Finishing tests in the allotted time
  • Finishing homework in the expected time frame
  • Listening or taking notes when a teacher is speaking
  • Reading and taking notes
  • Solving simple math problems in their head
  • Completing multi-step math problems in the allotted time
  • Doing written projects that require details and complex thoughts
  • Keeping up with conversations

Parents and teachers may notice that a child:

  • Becomes overwhelmed by too much information at once
  • Needs more time to make decisions or give answers
  • Needs to read information more than once for comprehension
  • Misses nuances in conversation
  • Has trouble executing instructions if told to do more than one thing at once

Key Takeaways

  • Slow processing speed can affect the ability to make decisions quickly.
  • Trouble with processing speed can affect a child’s executive functioning skills.
  • Having your child evaluated can reveal problems with processing speed.

Further Understanding

It’s not unusual for gifted students to have slow processing speed. For more information, including how to address slow processing speed, read the following article from the Davidson Institute: https://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10782

As doctor Steven Butnik, Ph.D. put it “When they go unrecognized and their needs go unaddressed, gifted students with a slower pace can feel discouraged and demoralized. However, once they are understood and efforts are made to help reduce the impact of the slower pace, these students’ best abilities can shine. Parents may need to take the lead and arrange for evaluations, educate those involved in their children’s lives, and provide their child with unwavering support and encouragement.”

Veronica Almeida authored a wonderful article on the educational website, We Have Kids, called Understanding Slow Processing Speed in Children. Below are some of her ideas on how to help your children deal with slow processing speed and how you can support them at home. Her full article can be found here: https://wehavekids.com/education/Understanding-Slow-Processing-Speed-in-Children

How to help your child deal with slow processing speed:

If your child has a learning disability or other problems, it important to address the main problem in priority. It is actually a very good idea to have your child assessed by the trained professionals in your child’s school, or a school psychologist in private practice with either an MA or Ph.D. in educational psychology. (Clinical psychologists can also make a diagnosis but may not have the breadth of assessment training or experience in learning disorders as a trained school psychologist. Note: retired teachers, even special education teachers, are not qualified to make a diagnosis.) A professional assessment can avoid misdiagnosis and provide the appropriate routes to address your child’s issues.

However, there are a few things you can do at home to help your child deal with slow processing speed:

  • For each task, break it down into smaller easy-to-grasp steps;
  • Provide your child with clear and short directions to follow;
  • Set out times for completing tasks, using timers, schedules, clocks – this will be challenging but with patience and practice your child can learn to manage their time better.
  • Reduce distractions around your child – if your child is drawing, turn off radios, TV or computers and put away other toys that are not being used by your child.
  • Give gentle reminders of time or of next steps;

Things you should NOT do:

  • Do not take it personally – it is not your fault or their fault;
  • Do not overwhelm your child with too many things to do at once;
  • Do not react emotionally or blame the child;
  • Do not punish the child for taking too long – they don’t do it on purpose.
  • Do not overtly compare the child to other children in the attempt to get them to do things faster – this will hurt their self-confidence instead.
  • Do not assume the child just needs to pay attention and that’s all, thus ignoring the signs.

Whatever you do, give them your support and understanding

Unfortunately slow processing speed can easily go unnoticed in a child, causing her/him anxiety and feeling like they are not as smart as others, or even dumb in nature. Their confidence can be shattered and eventually it shows in school performance and even at home. Many of these children are very bright and would excel in many areas, but often their anxiety and low self-confidence (as consequence of SPS) can get in the way of that. Even if SPS is recognized, parents and teachers can fail the child by getting impatient, increasing the child’s anxiety, which in turn slows them down even more.

It is important to support your child and let them know that having slow processing speed does not, in any way, mean they are not smart. By feeling supported, and with the appropriate techniques, these children can thrive and have a chance at a bright future.

Children with slow processing speed are not dumb! On the contrary, many actually have great critical thinking, are dedicated and are quite smart in many areas. Any decline in performance in any area, usually comes from not addressing their processing speed, or from the frustration that comes with SPS – presented by the child, parents and teachers.

A good support system, one full of understanding and patience, help children feel confident about themselves, making it easier for them to take on any obstacles they encounter. (Veronica Almeida 2017)