Reading is First an Auditory Function

Interestingly, reading is first an auditory function. Reading actually requires children to attach appropriate visual representations of sounds but children must first be able to recognize the sound. After a child can recognize sounds in isolation it is then necessary to be able to recognize sound patterns. Essential at this stage is a healthy-developing auditory system, specifically in the areas of auditory decoding and temporal processing.

Auditory-Visual Integration

After a child can correctly recognize sound patterns, the next step is to be able to connect the appropriate visual pattern. This process is known as auditory-visual integration and a healthy-developing visual system is essential at this stage.

The Ability to Attach Meaning

The ability to attach meaning to what is read is the third step to learning how to read. A good foundation in language is critical at this stage, which brings us back to the importance of a healthy-developing auditory processing system.

Actively (Not Passively) Learning Language

We already know that language is initially learned by listening and with a typical-developing auditory processing system, a child or individual can learn passively simply through exposure. Listening should be a passive process but it becomes a lot of work in children and individuals with auditory processing weaknesses. For these children and individuals, frequently described as being selective listeners, listening is no longer passive. Instead, they are learning language actively.

Active language learning causes children and individuals to learn language in chunks, hindering the development of a good, strong language foundation. Listening only when it is important or motivating so as to get their needs and wants met, these selective listeners often miss out on social language as well as inference and the abstract.

A “Daily Listening Diet”

When auditory processing deficits become a piece of the puzzle, a “daily listening diet” can prove quite helpful. Learn why a daily listening diet is a critical element in remediating an auditory processing problem.