Franklin, age 8, can build wonderful Lego cities.  A creative and thoughtful child, he is also a wealth of information when it comes to anything about nature – he can talk about swamps like no one’s business.  The problem is Franklin is having trouble keeping up in school.   For him, completing worksheets, carrying out multiple-step tasks and performing any writing activities are a laborious and challenging process.

Even though they were not in a position to diagnose him, Franklin’s teachers were pretty convinced he was “ADHD.”   Franklin’s parents then took him to a neurologist,  but a trial period on simulant medication did not seem to have much of an effect on him.

When I evaluated Franklin and found him to be sluggish in practically everything that required a degree of efficiency.  Tasks that normally took five minutes, took nearly 15 or 20.  On paper and pencil processing speed measures, Franklin only scored in the 10th percentile (compared with his 90th %ile verbal and spatial thinking).

Poor Franklin just couldn’t keep up in school and he was getting frustrated each day, as he had to bring home work that wasn’t completed on almost a daily basis.

Related to the topic at hand, I am excited to let you know that I recently interviewed Dr. Ellen Braaten, an expert on the topic of kids with processing speed problems like Franklin’s.   Dr. Braaten appeared on my internet radio show, “School Struggles,” which is a part of the Coffee Klatch network (

The interview will air on 9/2 & 9/3 at 8:00 p.m est.  It will also be available after that date on the Coffee Klatch site.

Dr. Braaten is a psychologist and director of the Learning & Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP) at  Massachusetts General Hospital and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Bratten is the author of “Bright Kids Who Can’t Keep Up.

Here’s a quote from Dr. Braaten’s wonderful book:

Processing speed isn’t a one-dimensional concept. It’s not just about how we see, or how fast we write or how fast we can process what we’ve heard. It’s really a combination of all those factors. In fact, processing speed deficits can be observed in visual processing, verbal processing and motor speed. Problems in one or more of these areas can manifest in problems with academic fluency and general difficulties.  However, it is rare to be slow at all of the above….In every day life there is a cost to processing everything more slowly.

Within the first interview, Dr. Braaten discusses some of the more common variables with processing speed weaknesses. In the second one, she highlights how parents and teachers can approach children with processing speed weaknesses.  She also reviews her model of,  “The Three A’s of Processing Speed.”

For more information about the interview, please go to:…

You can also access the interview through my website: