Slow Teen

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Smart son takes forever to do anything

July 2011

Is anyone experiencing a ''slow'' teenager? My son is very smart- tested for GATE, scores proficient and advanced on all standardized tests, gets math, science, really easily, great at presenting an argument. He just moves so slow! It takes him forever to eat, use the bathroom, get out of bed, do his chores, do his homework. It has gotten so bad that he doesn't finish all of the night's work when he should and has to stay up late or turn assignments in late because he can't keep up. WHen I ask him about it, he says, ''it's just the way I am.'' He also says that if he goes any faster, he won't get things done correctly or thoroughly. Like I said, he's a smart, normal kid- athletic (not slow there), reads, likes music, has friends, a girlfriend, etc.... He just moves so slow and it's making me crazy. ---It also takes him too long to get things done, therefore, he gets less done.... Help...? anon mom

You are describing my son! And the source of at least half of my grey hairs.

My son moved slow since the beginning (entirely different from his sister) and things like getting shoes on when he was little took FOREVER. And he still moves slow. Though I will say, now that he has turned 18 and sometimes needs to move fast to do things he wants to do, he is learning better how to do it - when absolutely necessary. But it is a big effort.

It became a bigger problem around homework as high school got harder. I don't have any easy answers for you. We had him sign up for a study hall period every year, that helped some, and at periods he had to limit outside activities to allow enough time for homework.

We had him tested for learning disabilities and he was determined to be ADHD inattentive type. In other words, he is very often distracted by what is going on in his head, which is often much more interesting than the mundane task in front of him. He never used medications for this - he flat out refused and was old enough to have that right - but just understanding helped us both cope a little better.

If this seems to be a fundamental aspect of your son's makeup, he can learn to understand it and make allowances for it. It should be kept in mind when thinking about colleges, careers, etc. My son loves science and the outdoors, and I think he'll be able to find a great career where speed is less of the essence. Good luck to you both! Mom of molasses

Dr. Annemarie Roeper the ''Godmother'' of gifted children once told me that she noticed gifted children tended to be either extra fast, or extra slow. My teen is also on the slow side, but super smart! Dr. Roeper said that with the ''slow'' children they are often processing much more data. Somtimes it can be emotional with a need to be cautious. Perfectionism can be a culprit as well. Every child is different which is why every child (especially a gifted child) should have a differentiated education plan. Check out Baywood Learning Centers new High School for gifted learners: grace
I don't know if this helps, but you have described my daughter. She is intelligent, and a GATE student, but it takes her forever to do things too. It takes an hour to take a shower (or more), several minutes to get out of the car once we're parked, at least an hour to get ready to go somewhere, even to the grocery store. It makes me crazy too. At least yours reads, I can't get mine to, or do her homework, and he does chores, I am struggling to get mine to do them. I tend to be overly conscientious in my work also and I think that she and I are detail oriented and thorough. I am an educator and think that you may be quite lucky. A lot of kids their age tend to have shorter and shorter attention spans in this age of technology, and do not want to take the time for details. There are a lot of fields he could go into that he could do well in, such as medicine. I am sorry for your aggravation, but maybe it is a blessing in disguise? Formerly Patient Mom