Perception and Comprehension
Perception is the process of making sense of sensory input. As such, it is a basic form of comprehension or recognition. Usually perception or recognition of what has been noticed is a nearly instantaneous process; however, those experiencing a slower information processing speed experience challenges in perception. They need more time to make sense of what they see and hear. The average conversation may move too quickly for them to follow well. These individuals may find social engagements fatiguing, and you may notice them “blanking out” or losing track during conversations. Noisy environments are particularly challenging, as the distractions disrupt attention, perception, thinking and learning processes.
The result of these disruptions may be the inability to pass on accurate messages (e.g., phone message). You may also observe frustration when the person attempts to understand directions. Reading may become a laborious process, instead of the enjoyable pastime it once was.
- Use simple, adult-level language.
- Keep conversations simple.
- Give simple one-step directions.
- Give the person sufficient time to process information prior to repeating instructions.
- Put information in writing so the person can review it as needed.
- Label items.
- Reduce distractions in the environment.
- Involve family members in group discussions.
- Encourage questions if the person does not understand.
- Provide shorter, simpler materials for reading.
- Avoid new and complex tasks.
- Check understanding by asking the person to put information in other words or repeat back instructions.
- Keep maps and written instructions for easy reference.
- Work on puzzles and other activities that provide practice with perception.