Kids with auditory processing problems have the toughest time of all. They inherently struggle not only to learn but to communicate with others.
Of course, it takes a lot to put missing auditory micro-skills into place. But while your therapist is working on these skills, there are some things you can do to help your child succeed, not only in the classroom, but in life.
Following are seven of the best ways to help your poor auditory processor:
1. Establish eye contact and speak to the child’s level. This means that before you talk to the child, be sure he/she is looking into your eyes and that you are using words and vocabulary you’re sure he/she understands.
2. Provide instructions and directions in the simplest ways possible and understand that you might need to give these instructions in numerous different ways. It’s best to use just one step at a time before adding the next, but if you have to use two-step directions, make sure they are easy and clear.
When my son was little, I had no idea he had auditory processing problems. He’d get overwhelmed and yell at me, “You’re giving me too many “demandments”! Be sure you aren’t giving your child too many “demandments”!
3. Use a “cuing” system if your child or student is “zoned out”. This means you have an agreed upon physical action or word that the student knows should bring him/her back to focusing and paying attention. You can do things like touch your nose, turn the lights off then back on, or gently touch his/her shoulder.
4. Provide as many visual and kinesthetic supports that you can. This isn’t always feasible, but these kids rely on tactile and visual information to survive long school days.
5. Have the child or student repeat or paraphrase the directions back to you after you’ve given them. This takes a few extra minutes, but it will pay off in lessening melt-downs, temper tantrums, or in failing an assignment. Once the student can put the expectation in his/her own words, then it’s something he/she can understand.
6. This one always seems obvious, but a reminder is sometimes necessary. Provide a quiet place to do homework, schoolwork, or just “down” time. Our world is crazy, noisy, and full of tempting technology among other things. These kids need/crave quiet time even if they can’t tell you they do.
7. Give short breaks between activities and assignments. These are our students who are more fatigued than others, because just getting though a day can be difficult with all the auditory stimuli in the world and in the modern classroom!
Auditory processing disorders don’t have to be the end and if you make some simple changes, it just might feel like a new beginning to kids who suffer from them.