April 23, 2021

Processing speed is different from processing ability.

Sometimes, when a person realizes I have poor processing speed, they automatically assume I have poor processing ability. Their tone becomes more singsongy, their vocabulary more childlike, and their expressions more performative – thinking this makes it easier for me to understand.

It’s like they’ve never considered the possibility that a person can be both smart and slow.

I can’t handle a barrage of facts, descending haphazardly into my mind like Tetris. I freeze up, game over.

However, I can handle extremely complex information if you give it to me one bite at a time… with pauses in between to digest each new fact.

Everyone deserves respect, regardless of processing speed or ability. But remember that those are separate needs with separate accommodations, and they don’t always overlap.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.