Many of our students at Pride Learning Center have been diagnosed with auditory processing difficulties due to CAPD, ADHD, dyslexia, autism, or a learning disability. Often parents will ask me the question, “what can I do at home to help?” I have composed a list of activities that strengthen and support auditory processing deficits that are simple, quick and easy to incorporate at home.
1. Listen for Sounds. Have your child sit at your desk, close their eyes and identify sounds that you make. You can drop a pencil, bounce a ball, tap on the window, tear a paper, use a stapler, cut with scissors, open the door, type on your computer, sip a cup of coffee or write with a marker. Trade roles and then let the child make different sounds that you have to identify.
2. Take a Nature Walk. Sit outside under a tree and listen for various sounds outside of the house. Sounds like birds chirping, airplanes flying overhead, cars driving by, voices of children playing are fun to identify. You can have a little notebook on hand and keep a list of all of the different sounds you came across.
3. Repeat a Pattern. Sit across from your child and clap your hands to a rhythmic pattern alternating between slow and fast tempos. Have your child repeat the pattern. You can also use various instruments, play a drum or bounce a ball to a variety of rhythms. Switch roles and let your child be the sound leader as well.
4. Hide and Seek. Hide a metronome or a ticking clock somewhere in your home. Have your child find it by locating the sound. Another variation of this game can be played outside. You can hide somewhere and blow a whistle. The child will then follow the sounds to find where you are hiding.
5. Sing Songs. Sing songs together that involve repeating previous verses, such as “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”, “Over in the River”, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and “The Green Grass Grows All Around.”
6. Read Rhyming Books Together. For beginning readers, repetitive and rhyming books help children listen carefully to the similar sounds of rhyming words. Some great rhyming books are “Hop on Pop”, “Fox in Socks”, “Goose on the Loose” and “Goodnight Moon.”
Karina Richland, M.A., E.T. is the Managing Director of Pride Learning Centers, located in Los Angeles and Orange County. A former teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District, Ms. Richland is a 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
Once a child has been formally tested and diagnosed with a learning disability, it is imperative for the parent to request accommodations for that child’s specific needs within the classroom. Appropriate accommodations should be written into a student’s IEP. Listed below are some suggested ways to aid students with learning disabilities.
1. Conduct a class review session before the test – Teachers can provide the student with a study guide with key terms and concepts as well as model the answers for the student. Students with learning disabilities need clear and concise directions and want to know exactly what is expected from them. It is beneficial to the student to know ahead of time the purpose of the test. What will the examiner/tester be looking for?
2. Oral testing: Tests can be read out loud to the student or provided pre-recorded on audio version. The student can also be allowed to give the answers orally.
3. Read the instructions for the test out loud: A student with a learning disability often gets nervous and might mix up instructions or take longer to process the directions. Before beginning the exam it would be beneficial to make sure that the student understands what to do on each part of the exam.
4. Unlimited time: Students with learning disabilities may need extra time completing tasks. It takes them a lot longer to read the questions, compose the answer in their head, and get it down on paper. The student can come in before class, return after school or use study periods to finish a test.
5. Fill in the blank test questions: Students with learning disabilities may have a difficult time remembering new words and may be nervous about spelling these words correctly. The vocabulary words can be listed at the top of the exam or a list of possible answers can be printed on the test.
6. Multiple choice questions: The volume of reading required for a multiple choice question test is overwhelming for a student with learning disabilities. If possible this type of testing should be avoided.
7. Essay Questions: The teacher can let the student know the main idea of the question the day before the test. This gives the student an opportunity to begin organizing information for the question at home. The essay portion can be corrected on content and content alone. Spelling errors, grammatical errors and writing mechanics can be ignored.
8. Test Booklets – Students may be permitted to record answers directly into the test booklet instead of recording answers on a separate sheet.
9. Grade on Content – Teachers can ignore spelling mistakes on all types of testing and grade on content only, not mechanics.
The BEST type of testing for a student with a learning disability is to draw a line from the question to the answer.
Weekly Spelling Tests
For those students struggling with spelling, these tests should not be graded. The student can complete their spelling homework and take the test along with the rest of the class but the teacher might want to put either a smiley face or a stamp on the test and leave it ungraded. This way the student is still exposed to the spelling. It also helps the student feel included in the classroom and keeps the self-esteem high.
For students struggling with reading, they should not be forced to read out loud in front of the class. This will cause extreme embarrassment for the student. If this is necessary (class play, skit, etc.) the student should be warned ahead of time and shown exactly which passage they will have to read so that they can practice it ahead of time. If the student raises their hand and wants to read – then of course the student can be given that opportunity.
For students who read below expected levels, audio books, talking books, educational videos and films can help provide the general information that the student is unable to acquire from the textbook.
Teachers can accept dictated homework. On assignments that require a lot of writing (summaries, book reports, essays, projects, etc.) students can dictate and the parents can act as a scribe.
For Students with memory problems or difficulty taking notes, a fellow student might share notes; the student might tape the lesson; or the teacher might provide a copy of the lesson outline.
Teachers can reduce copying by providing information or activities on handouts or worksheets.
The student should be allowed to use any technology tools that the parent is willing to buy to work around their challenge areas.
For students with short-term memory problems (e.g., the student understands math processes, but has short term memory problems that interfere with remembering math facts) a table of facts or a calculator could be provided.
For students whose handwriting is slow, illegible and includes many reversals an audio recorder or a computer with word processing software could be used for written work.
Place the student close to the teacher, whiteboard, or work area and away from distracting sounds, materials, or objects.
Karina Richland, M.A. 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 email@example.com or visit the Pride Learning Center website at: www.pridelearningcenter.com
By Karina Richland, M.A., E.T.
The most effective teaching method for children with learning differences is a multisensory approach. Multisensory teaching utilizes all the senses to relay information to the students. The teacher accesses the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic pathways in order to enhance memory and learning. For example, when learning the vowel combination “oa” the student might first look at it and then have to trace the letters in the air while speaking out loud. This combination of listening, looking, and moving around creates a lasting impression for the student as things will connect to each other and become memorable.
Multisensory learning started back in the 1920s by Dr. Samuel Orton at the Mobile Mental Health Clinic in Iowa. Dr. Samuel Orton, one of the first to recognize dyslexia in students, suggested that teaching the “fundamentals of phonic association with letter forms, both visually and kinesthetically presented and reproduced in writing until the correct associations were built up,” would be the best learning approach for students of all ages. Dr. Orton had his patients trace, copy, and write letters while saying their corresponding sounds and associations. Today this method is known as multisensory learning.
Children with dyslexia often struggle with auditory and/or visual processing. They have trouble recalling words and how they are pronounced. This means that they do not comprehend the roles that sounds play in words. These children have difficulties rhyming words as well as blending sounds together to form words. Dyslexic children do not understand or acquire the alphabetic code or system expected of them in the primary grades. If a child with dyslexia is given a task that uses just hearing and vision, without drawing upon other senses, the student will be at a disadvantage. When taught with a multisensory approach, children will learn alphabetic patterns and words by utilizing all pathways – hearing (auditory), seeing (visual), touching (tactile) and moving (kinesthetic).
Dyslexic students do not need more of the same instruction in class but a different type of instruction. They need to learn basic language sounds and the letters that make them, starting from the very beginning and moving forward in a gradual step by step process. For all of this to “stick” they need to do this by using their eyes, ears, voices, and hands.
Tell me, and I will forget.
Show me, and I may remember.
Involve me, and I will understand.
Karina Richland, M.A., E.T. is the Managing Director of Pride Learning Centers, located in Los Angeles and Orange County. A former teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District, Ms. Richland is a 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: