A child with a processing disorder often can learn the same things as their grade-level peers. However, the time it takes to dissect, digest, and apply the information fully may be substantially longer than other students. According to the educators at Currey Ingram, many students with learning differences can benefit from the individualized attention available at the Brentwood boarding school, just outside of Nashville.
Although slow processing is not considered a formal learning disability, it does have a profound effect on a student’s performance in the classroom. Processing speed, which is regarded as one of the most important functions in predicting a learning difference, makes it more difficult for the child to demonstrate proficiency. While they may be able to do the work, it will simply take them longer. This can be detrimental to their self-esteem in a typical classroom setting, where speed is often prioritized and students compared to others based on standardized benchmark testing. As a private school in Brentwood, TN, Currey Ingram does things differently.
Through testing, educators at this Nashville-area learning disability school can assess slow processing speed and provide child-specific accommodations that offer an opportunity for each student with special needs, such as processing speed, to showcase his/her abilities in a safe and nurturing environment. This makes a huge difference in the student’s desire to move forward with learning since he/she feels more at ease with each lesson.
Many learning differences and students with special needs present with slow processing. A child with ADHD, for example, might be fully capable of understanding text or mathematical instructions, but without an outlet, such as being allowed to talk themselves through their work, can have difficulty taking in and retaining information. Anxiety is another possible source of interference. In this case, having an adult present at the beginning of an assignment to provide additional instruction and encouragement may ease some of the tension. This might allow the child to focus on the task at hand. The result is better grades and a deeper understanding of the subject matter. More importantly, in-class accommodations can boost a young learner’s confidence.
Types of Accommodations
There are dozens of adjustment tactics that educators can employ to assist children with slow processing speed. A few of these are to:
- Provide additional time for tests and lengthy or complicated classwork. This will allow the student an opportunity to complete more of their given task and may alleviate anxiety stemming from time-based assignments.
- Utilize alternative learning resources, such as audiobooks, like those available through Learning Ally.
- Teachers may grade based on quality without regard to quantity. As a private school, Brentwood-based Currey Ingram gives its teachers the authority and autonomy to do this for children who are not comfortable rushing through their work.
- Allow students to use technology to help them in and out of the classroom. Day school and boarding school tuition at Currey Ingram covers the cost of either an iPad or MacBook Air.
- Provide a consistent schedule and eliminate nonessential tasks that might deplete cognitive energy.
- Model skills slowly and then engage in guided practice before requesting independent work samples. Because of the small class sizes at the private Brentwood boarding school, students at Currey Ingram get the personalized attention they need to succeed academically. Teachers can focus on each student and how they learn, which often requires hands-on guidance that cannot be given in a setting with a higher student-to-teacher ratio.
- Add visual timing aides for younger students who do not understand the concept of time passage. This can promote time constraint awareness. A timer that displays remaining minutes -- something as basic a twist-to-countdown egg timer -- is often sufficient.
- Eliminate unnecessary steps, particularly writing, when it is not required to understand the subject matter. For example, students who process information slowly might perform better in mathematics when dealing strictly with numbers versus drawn-out word problems that do not add real value to the lesson.
- Reduce verbal direction for students with auditory processing disorders. Similarly, teachers might reduce visual prompts, such as writing on the board or projector, for students who struggle with reading.
- Scale down the need to multitask. Teachers at the Brentwood boarding school are adept at determining when their students have too many things going on at once. An example of an overwhelming assignment is asking students to follow along during a lecture while spontaneously taking notes and looking at a visual presentation.
- Empower students to work independently by teaching a routine.
I Do, We Do, You Do
Another accommodation that deserves attention is the “I-do, we-do, you-do” approach. In this method, the instructor completes a problem, followed by working through a similar problem with the student. The student is then encouraged to complete the third question on their own. This is another example of instruction that requires extended interaction with each student, the type of personal attention available at Currey Ingram. Students come to this Brentwood boarding school from all over the country to experience this kind of educational setting.
Currey Ingram’s staff is encouraged to get to know each child and their academic abilities before creating lesson plans. This provides the educator with an opportunity to identify processing deficits and choose the type of accommodation that is likely best-suited to each student. A traditional K-12 environment may lack the resources to do this effectively, even for students with an IEP.
Currey Ingram is a private boarding school in Brentwood, Tennessee, that focuses on helping students with learning differences achieve and succeed. Students at Currey Ingram enjoy individualized attention in an environment designed to elevate the academic experience. Our teachers and staff provide a smaller, more personalized setting for students with dyslexia, ASD, twice-exceptional, and many other diagnoses. For more information, visit www.curreyingram.org.