FASD: Lessons In Processing Speed From The Turtle, Sloth And Snail

“I recently saw the graphic below, of a sloth riding on a turtle’s back, saying “too fast”. I was going to share it on my Facebook page, with a short comment about how we may need to slow down in order to accommodate an individual with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Either in what we say, how fast we want someone to reply to us, or to get something done that we ask to be done.

The speed at which we operate is usually too fast for people with FASD. The expectations that we hold for others to meet our requests or demands on our timelines are usually not compatible when it comes to FASD.

Many people with FASD will have a slower processing speed.

Processing speed is a cognitive ability that could be defined as the time it takes a person to do a mental task. It is related to the speed in which a person can understand and react to the information they receive, whether it be visual (letters and numbers), auditory (language), or movement.

For some with FASD, it’s like being a 10 second person in a one second world.

This picture really made me pause. Because we think turtles are slow. But to a sloth, a turtle is too fast. We are likely too fast for many of the children and people we support. We may slow things to a turtle pace, thinking we are slowing enough … but maybe we need to be like a sloth. Some people may even require us to be like a snail.

I have just wrapped up taking a 30 day Self Regulation Challenge (you can read about the beginning of my journey here: Self Regulation in FASD and me) from The Mehrit Centre. Although for many children with FASD their ability to understand and implement self regulation skills may be limited due to various deficits or impacts in different areas of the brain. When a child can’t regulate we need to co-regulate and/or model self-regulation.” (Read more…)