Slow processing speed and anxiety disorder in kids; Parents need to know

Posted : 07-Nov-2017

There are countless people who read books, does not make any sense? Let’s put it this way, most of us read books, and everyone apprehends their own way to understand texts. For me, when I read a story book I can frame those vivid characters in mind, but there is a problem, I need a longer time to complete a novel or a story book as processing text doesn’t happen with me that instant. Well, you can term it as slow processing speed.  


I have this problem since childhood and I have learned to cope up with it since then.Children with slow processing speed, anxious flashes can pop up all over the day, and that too without warning. Their processing speed issues can adversely affect everything from taking tests to chatting with friends. It can become so serious, that these episodes of frequent anxiety can eventually trigger to an anxiety disorder.


As parents, you have to know about connections between slow processing speed and anxiety, and how you can help your child manage routine activities.

Here’s what you need to know about the connection between slow processing speed and anxiety, and how you can help your child. But before that let’s try and understand how slow processing speed can gradually size-up anxiety.

Take this scenario – A child sitting in a class, writing papers, what would happen when she sees her classmates are moving real fast from problems to solutions, while she’s unable to figure out anything. The situation may build up a lot of stress and anxiety, and more the stress and anxiety the slower she gets. We never know when the anxiety will cease to be.  


A child with slow processing speed can feel blindsided


When a child has learning problem it is entirely different, for an instance every friday Anita has a math test in her school, it can be easily predicted that every friday she might get stressed out. Such a learning problem can be addressed, as we know what triggers her anxiety.

But a child with slow processing speed can be blindsided in numerous occasions where she suddenly breaks down with anxiety. It can be a group discussion in classroom, in social situations trouble keeping up what’s going on in her group of friends or may be something her friends were expecting which she was unable to comprehend.

Parents can help to address kids with slow processing speed and anxiety by following few essential tips, often slow processing speed can be a hidden issue and parents must find out ways to keep their child out of anxiety and stress.


Here are some ways you can adopt to minimize the anxiety your child may be feeling:


Think and reflect on your actions: Do not insist your child to hurry up, identify that feeling rushed may make her feel anxious.


Reason your own processing speed and respond: Do not judge your child on your processing speed, recognise and respect that there is no right or wrong speed, it’s just the way how each operate.  


Ease it up! Acknowledge the anxiety: Before a test or group discussion, communicate empathically and acknowledge by asking her “that the previous test you were very anxious, are you feeling better this time”     


Recognize the impact on the family: Do not let your child’s slow processing speed affect her, cope up with her if she finishes her dinner last. Motivate her by talking openly and support.


Make her understand awareness of time: Inculcate and build awareness by incorporating conversations everyday such as “Grandma is coming in two hours or in next 10 minutes the bus will leave the station.


Rehearse things she can say to others: Because her issues aren’t always obvious, your child may have trouble knowing how to explain them and ask for help. Discuss and practice ways she can talk about her challenges to teachers, peers and family.


Look out for signs of chronic anxiety: Keep a close watch on her physical and emotional health, try and understand when your child shows sign of anxiety and how to address it.


Seek for medical treatment for anxiety: If your child’s anxiety becomes a daily occurrence, consult a doctor immediately for treatment options. Understanding the link between anxiety and slow processing speed is the first step to getting your child help. The treatment may include medication and sometimes therapy



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