But WHY is my child not learning?


thinking kid

Turning our attention to processing disorders

So often the focus on finding the blockages to learning is to keep testing the child’s output system: look at their academics, asses their IQ, rate them on behavior/ADHD checklists, or by tracking the child’s performance in a group. When a child struggles with learning, these output scores don’t often change and we are left with out answers as to why a child is not moving forward.

If you throw a penny into a room without watching were it lands, it will take some time to find it again. If you close the book you are reading without noting the page, you will have to search a little while to refresh your memory about what you have just read and where you left off. When someone gives you explicit driving instructions but you only recall the first part, you will be lost.

Have to search for something or reviewing information already seen is frustrating and gets in the way of other activities you could be doing. Missing information we heard always causes confusion or anxiety. And so it goes with processing disorders. Having to try to find your homework so you don’t get a bad grade. Forgetting what you just read, or what you heard the teacher say, will leave you behind in the classroom. It also leaves you open to ridicule and the label of lazy.

boy listening
  Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)

“The brain’s inability to process what the ear delivers to it” 

Children with an auditory processing disorder have a hard time separating out which sounds are important to process (speech) and what noise is irrelevant background sound. (wind)

Characteristics of a person with CAPD:

  • A child of 2 who is not speaking at all
  • Someone who does not follow conversation
  • Reluctant to engage in conversations
  • Watches others perform actions first, then joins in
  • Difficult time remembering directions or information told to him
  • Pays poor attention when he just has to listen , say “huh” often

How does this affect your child?

85 % of the school day is taught auditorily

Might struggle in social interactions

Reading and spelling and phonological awareness activities can be delayed

Safety is impaired in situations that require fast processing

Speech and language proficiency are not up to age level

Distractible in noisy environments

Magnifying glass icon  Visual Processing Disorders:   

Visual Perception is the brain’s ability to understand and make sense of what the eyes ‘send it.’

Characteristics of a person with visual processing problems:

  • Has good eyesight but complains of not being able to see the words
  • Skips small words while reading. Misreads simple words or guesses at words.
  • Reading is choppy
  • Complains of eyes hurting
  • Is easily distracted while studying and can be labeled ADD.
  • Takes a long time to finish tests
  • Reading comprehension is below age

How does this affect your child?

They may have a general tiredness or anxiety due to the effort needed

They might have lower depth perception skills and seem clumsy

Complains of headaches

Math difficulty comes about due to speed tests and column alignment

Copying correctly from the board is hard

Poor handwriting, caused by sloppy letters or strange spacing

confused boy

Slow Processing Speed:

Characteristics of a person with slow processing speed are:

  • Clumsy or poor motor coordination
  • Good intellect but struggles in academics; has poor working memory
  • Lack of sustained focus for more than 10 minutes
  • Behavior disordered or disruptive
  • Trouble with organizational skills
  • Difficulty with sequencing skills such as those required in reading and math

How does this affect your child:

They don’t perform up to their intellectual ability

Usually left out of sports

Often can be irritable or uncooperative

They daydream in class and have academic delays or failure

When we look to the processing areas, the input areas to the brain, we often can discover the blockage that prevents your child from excelling. Once identified, treatment begins.


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