Analogy Describing Experience of Child or Young Adult with Slow Processing Speed
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Let’s compare a student’s ability to perform in school to your ability to perform on the job.   Consider the following scenario:

You have been mandated, by law, to do a particular job for the next ten to twelve years.  You have no say in the matter and you have little or no control over how your work day is organized.  Each year you become more and more aware that your colleagues are able to do the work more quickly than you and with far greater accuracy than you.  Your peers are equally aware that you are falling behind.  They begin to ignore you or worse, ridicule you. They get promoted, moved to more advanced groups and projects. 

You are in the same work space, but segregated from your peers.  You watch your coworkers getting acknowledgments while you are constantly singled out for redirection, and “special” trainings.  Several years into your career your supervisors meet and decide you need to be moved into a separate program, still at the same job, but with a group that, for whatever reason, has also fallen behind. 

Think how you would feel if year after year you met with failure on the job.  How might you respond? Would you withdraw, act out, fight back, become a clown, try to get fired?  What if your raise was dependent on your ability to do read the following:    When in doubt, check it out. (When in doubt, check it out.)  or “Many uncolicitated onterators have been tramming on the premis,”  or to recall, in two minutes, all the addresses of the places you lived since you were six, or to clearly enunciate the Pledge of Allegiance when you had peanut butter in your mouth?

As adults, we have the opportunity to choose a job that uses our strengths; we do not have to choose a job that emphasizes our weaknesses.  A child does not have that choice; his job is to go to school.  His success or failure is based on how well he is able to process and perform tasks and his peers are well aware of his “performance rating.” 

Karen Vaught, M. Ed.
Brandon Hall School

1701 Brandon Hall Drive
Atlanta, GA 30350


About Karen Vaught, M. Ed.

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Last updated 9-31-2010


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