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Information Processing

Information processing is the process (procedure) by which the brain takes in stimuli from the immediate environment. Our bodies constantly process internal and external sensations. Some examples may include pain that registers as a headache, hearing a coworker ask a question, or reading written instructions. Various limitations may negatively impact an individual’s ability to process information quickly and effectively. Please see the following limitations that may correspond with the individual’s need (concentration, fatigue, memory, organization, reading, social skills, stress intolerance, time management, and writing).

  • Executive Functioning Deficits

    Executive functions are high-level mental processes or abilities that influence and direct more basic abilities like attention and memory. The term executive function describes a set of cognitive abilities that include the ability to plan, organize and strategize, pay attention to and remember details, start and stop actions, and form concepts and think abstractly.

    Executive functions also keep us from behaving in inappropriate ways. People with executive functioning deficits have difficulty monitoring and regulating their behaviors. These difficulties can include monitoring and changing behavior as needed, planning future behavior when faced with new tasks and situations, and anticipating outcomes and adapting to changing situations. People with executive functioning deficits will often have problems interacting with others and fitting in socially. Please see the following limitations that may correspond with the individual’s need (concentration, memory, organization, social skills, time management, and writing). For more information on executive function functioning deficits, see JAN's Effective Accommodation Practices: Executive Functioning Deficits.

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  • Visual Processing

    Visual processing is the way the brain, not the eyes, processes the world around us, including things like symbols, pictures, and distances. Individuals with visual processing issues often struggle with visual memory, visual-motor skills and processing what they see, which can affect their reading, tracking, writing and math abilities. The person may see the information clearly, but their brain cannot process the information they see. This may be the reason they write their letters backward, forget letters and numbers, aren’t able to sequence math facts, and can’t use their eyes to track their hand as they write on a piece of paper or copy notes from another source.

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  • Auditory Processing

    Auditory processing is the term used to describe the ability to understand and use auditory information. Auditory discrimination includes the ability to notice, compare and distinguish the distinct and separate sounds in words — a skill that is vital for reading. Auditory figure-ground discrimination includes the ability to pick out important sounds from a noisy background.  Auditory memory involves the short-term and long-term abilities to recall information presented orally.  Auditory sequencing incorporates the ability to understand and recall the order of sounds and words. Difficulties in these processes may be problematic for competency in spelling, reading, and written expression.

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