Auditory processing is a term used to describe what happens when your brain recognizes and interprets the sounds around you. Humans hear when energy that we recognize as sound travels through the ear and is changed into electrical information that can be interpreted by the brain. The “disorder” part of auditory processing disorder means that something is adversely affecting the processing or interpretation of the information.
Children with APD often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even though the sounds themselves are loud and clear. For example, the request “Tell me how a chair and a couch are alike” may sound to a child with APD like “Tell me how a couch and a chair are alike.” It can even be understood by the child as “Tell me how a cow and a hair are alike.” These kinds of problems are more likely to occur when a person with APD is in a noisy environment or when he or she is listening to complex information.
So you can see how auditory processing can be a big challenge in the classroom. If a student has auditory processing issues the following strategies might help
- Gain student’s attention prior to delivery of information.
- Use attention devices such as calling the child’s name, saying “listen” and “Are you ready?” before giving assignments;
- Check the child’s comprehension of auditory information by asking the child to re-tell the instruction.
- Rephrase and restate important information to provide auditory redundancy.
- Use outlines, organizers, and study guides.
- Provide visual supports, daily schedule and calendars, overheads, or a computer.
- Emphasize critical information
- Monitor student’s attending skills; provide breaks if necessary
- Let the student use noise reduction ear muffs or ear plugs to reduce distractions.
- Allow a “buddy system” that the child can use to check on homework assignments or other instructions.
- Consider the use of tape recorders for some children who need a repetition of directions, spelling words, or lectures.
- Watch for unexpected answers or a limited response to questions. Remember auditory processing will become more pronounced in a noisy environment.