Children with auditory processing disorder will often struggle in a classroom setting, especially in the areas of following directions, reading, spelling, writing and comprehension. Auditory processing disorder results in a child mis-hearing, mis-pronouncing, and mis-repeating information. These children often have difficulty hearing the difference between sounds or words that are similar (coat/boat or sh/ch/. If you can’t hear the sounds properly, you can’t say the sounds properly you will also not read or write the sounds properly.
Here are some strategies for teachers and other professionals that work with children diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder in the classroom:
- Sit the child as close to the teacher as possible. Most children with auditory processing disorder will have difficulties hearing among other noises. If the child is sitting towards the back of the class he will only hear the sounds surrounding him – not the teacher’s voice. Therefore, just by moving the child nearer to the sound, at the front of the class will make a huge difference.
- Have the child look at the speaker. The child with auditory processing disorder needs to see the face and mouth of the speaker. Give the child as much eye contact as possible.
- Encourage all participants in the classroom to project their voices clearly. So many children have soft voices. When the teacher is asking questions and calling on students, the teacher can repeat the answer of the quieter voiced children so that everyone is able to hear and understand the answer. Not being able to hear is a lost opportunity for learning!
- Implement lots of visual images. Using visual stimuli when explaining will give the child with auditory discrimination problems lots of clues. These can include charts, pictures or illustrations. Teachers can use their own body language to serve as a visual. This could be hand movements or facial expressions. Think of ESL teachers and how they utilize TPR (total physical response).
- Praise the child often for being a good listener!
Karina Richland is the Founder and Director of Pride Learning Centers, located in Los Angeles and Orange County. Ms. Richland is a certified reading and learning disability specialist. Ms. Richland speaks frequently to parents, teachers, and professionals on learning differences, and writes for several journals and publications. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Pride Learning Center website at: www.pridelearningcenter.com