Specific Signs of Cognitive Skills Deficiencies

Distracted students have trouble focusing at school

Has difficulty focusing on work or school
  • Seems spacey or unmotivated
Is able to concentrate on subjects or activities he/she enjoys
  • Seems inconsistent
Has trouble sitting still
  • Seems disobedient
  • Seems as though he/she cannot help it
Does not complete tasks or assignments
  • Seems too easily overwhelmed
  • Takes a child way too long time to finish homework. Takes an adult far too long to accomplish a simple task because of distractions.
An adult might articulate an attention issue by saying, “I can’t seem to make myself get stuff done. When I have a lot to do, I don’t know where to start, so I end up not doing anything at all.”

Works too hard for what is achieved
  • Takes hours to complete homework
  • Studies for hours for tests but still does not do well
Does not finish tests
  • Everyone else is done, but he/she is still working
Has difficulty writing a paper
  • Cannot articulate thoughts in order to write them down
  • Once their thoughts are down, it is almost impossible to edit and improve
Does not participate in class or at work because it takes too long to process what is being talked about
Poor social skills because conversations move faster than the individual can keep up
Athletes struggle to “read” opposing team’s defense.
An adult might articulate a processing speed deficiency by saying, “I don’t understand why it takes me so much longer to do what seems to be easy for everyone else.”
Solitude - Closeup of a senior man looking away in deep thought

  • Seems to know information at home, but “chokes” when he/she gets to school
  • Asks to have things repeated
  • Cannot follow multi-step (written or verbal) instructions
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Difficulty with math facts and rules
  • Athletes cannot remember their teams’ plays
Angry schoolboy with learning difficulties

  • Difficulty with reading, comprehension, spelling and vocabulary
  • Has trouble paying attention and remembering information presented orally
  • Has trouble carrying out multistep directions
  • Has poor listening skills
  • Needs more time to process information
  • Has low academic performance
  • Has language difficulty (e.g., confuses syllable sequences and has problems developing vocabulary and understanding language)

  • Cannot decode unfamiliar words
  • Is inconsistent…sometimes will read things easily, other times will struggle
  • In Title I at school, but not making progress
  • Diagnosed with Dyslexia
  • Does not read fluently, reading is choppy
  • Diagnosed with Auditory Processing Deficiency
  • Is pushed through grade levels because of obvious intelligence, but is still struggling to read and keep up in class
  • Performs well on spelling tests, but cannot spell in context (i.e. story writing)
  • Leaves out letters (or puts them in the wrong place) when spelling

  • Has trouble with abstract concepts
  • Prioritizing and planning are difficult
  • Has difficulty with math word problems
  • Has trouble with problem solving
  • Not able to think outside the box