Structured Educational Environment
A highly structured educational environment can also prove extremely beneficial to children suffering from auditory processing weaknesses, deficits or delays. In the classroom, teachers can take several steps to aid children with auditory processing weaknesses in learning successfully.
A student with auditory processing weaknesses will respond to changes within their environment and instructional program in a variety of ways. While we recommend preferential classroom seating for all children with auditory processing weaknesses, further suggestions depend on the unique and individual auditory processing strengths and weaknesses of the child.
Classroom and Seating
- Seat the child near the teacher/speaker and away from noisy fans, windows, doors, hallways and other potential auditory distracters.
- Provide the child with a quiet study/work area, especially for test-taking and tutoring.
- Structure the classroom to reduce background noise and distraction.
- Seat the child at the front of the room or in front of maps, graphs and other visual aids.
- Gain both the visual and auditory attention of the child before giving directions.
- If possible, provide note-taking assistance as it is difficult for children suffering from auditory processing weaknesses to watch the teacher and take notes at the same time.
- Vary vocal inflections and volume to increase attention.
- Use words such as “listen”, “ready” and “remember” to regain attention.
- Speak slowly and clearly, but do not over-exaggerate speech.
- Use natural gestures that will clarify information.
- Provide both written and verbal instructions to aid the child in following directions and completing tasks.
- Give directions in a logical, time-oriented sequence using words that make the sequence clear. These words include “first”, “next” and “finally”.
- Emphasize key words when speaking or writing, especially when presenting new information. Offering pre-instruction with an emphasis on the main ideas to be presented may also prove effective.
- Avoid extraneous noises and visual distractions, especially when giving instructions and teaching new concepts.
- Paraphrase instructions and information in shorter and simpler sentences, rather than by only repeating.
- Check comprehension by asking the child questions. You can also request a brief summary after presenting key ideas to make sure the child understands.
- Encourage the child to ask questions for further clarification of information.
- Make instructional transitions clear.
- Review previously learned material.
- Give positive feedback to insure understanding and avoid showing frustration when the child misunderstands a message.
- Reinforce all work performance to boost self-confidence.
- Understand that students with auditory processing disorder fatigue much more easily than their peers do. Recognize these periods of fatigue and allow breaks as necessary.
- Students with auditory processing disorder should have adequate time to comprehend and complete tasks. Allow these students extended time for tests, quizzes and assignments.
- Students with auditory processing disorder need more time to formulate responses to verbal questions. Be sure to give these students adequate response time.
- Children with auditory processing weaknesses, particularly in the area of auditory decoding, often have trouble learning to read. The truth is that reading is first an auditory function. Therefore, if a child has trouble hearing and perceiving the difference in sounds, it becomes very difficult for the child to learn and associate the appropriate visual representation for the auditory pattern. It is very important to work with a “bottom-up” approach when addressing reading issues in children with auditory decoding deficits and to first address the auditory weakness. The key to addressing these weaknesses is through auditory decoding therapy.
- School performance should always be monitored to determine if there is a need for additional support services. One of the most important things that both a parent and teacher can do is to realize that APD is real. It is crucial to understand that the symptoms and behaviors of auditory processing disorder are not within the child’s control. What is within the child’s control, on the other hand, is the recognition of these problems and the application of strategies learned in therapy. Remember that a positive, realistic attitude and healthy self-esteem can work wonders for a child with APD.