Students with auditory processing disorders can have difficulty in any situation in which the
signal they are listening to is degraded. This means that they will have difficulty when there is background noise when the person speaking is more than 6 feet away, when the person is not facing them, and when the person has a foreign accent or does not speak clearly. The following suggestions may be helpful.
IMPROVING LISTENING LARRY’S AUDITORY SKILLS
1. Consider a trial use of an FM listening system in the classroom and in other difficult listening situations to reduce the negative effects of distance and competing noise. An FM system is a listening system in which the teacher wears a close microphone and the Larry wears a radio receiver. Larry will hear the teacher as if he were standing next to his ear in a room with no background noise.
2. Larry is in private therapy with Lynn A. Wood M/A.CCC/A, LSLS, Cert AVT, where his needs are identified and are treated in order to maximize his auditory learning and performance. A systematic program of auditory training is used to improve his auditory processing, auditory memory and auditory attention. Collin is practicing listening in noise and in targeting auditory skills as well.
MODIFYING THE ENVIRONMENT
1. Select quiet classrooms if possible. It should face a quiet street and not face traffic or be
near toilets, stairway, gymnasium, or the lunchroom.
2. Use acoustic treatment such as carpeting on the floor and acoustic tiles on the ceiling. If
carpeting cannot be installed in the entire room at least put it in especially noisy places areas.
3. All chairs and movable tables should have rubber stoppers (or tennis balls) to reduce noise.
4. Seat the Larry close to the teacher and allow him to change his seat if the Teacher moves around the room. Be certain Larry can see the teacher’s face so he can Use visual cues.
5. Whenever possible, seating should be away from the window or doorway, or any noisy
equipment (i.e. audiovisual equipment.)
MODIFYING TEACHING STYLE
1. Write information and homework in handouts or on the smartboard so the Larry does not have to rely on listening to get the correct assignment.
2. Check with the Larry to be certain that he understands. Repeat or rephrase if necessary.
3. Consider pre-teaching some of the academic materials to reduce listening in the classroom.
4. Whenever possible, small groups learning should take place outside of the classroom in a quiet room to maximize their benefit by reducing the interference from competing noise etc.
5. Allow Larry to take a “time out” during his day if he requests when listening is not required. This will reduce the stress of listening.
6. Larry may need extended test-taking time, and individualized test directions.
7. Larry may benefit from use of or a note taker to record classroom activities.
STRATEGIES FOR AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDER
Several strategies exist which may positively impact a Larry in their educational environment. These strategies are divided into parent, teacher, and Listening Larry approaches.
Teacher Modification Strategies
Reduction of noise/minimize distractions
Preferential seating away from noise
Use of classroom amplification system
Clear enunciation at a slow-moderate rate of speech
Insert purposeful pauses between concepts
Shortened verbal instructions; only pertinent content
Provide visual cues during lecture and/or oral directions
Provide repetition of oral information and steps of assignment
Give breaks between intense concepts taught for comprehension
Check for comprehension early and often
Have Larry repeat directions to the teachers
Preview and review concepts for lecture
Use of a positive peer partner for comprehension of directions
Use of cooperative learning groups
Use of a note-taker
Possible Assignment modifications:
Allow extended time to complete assignments and/or tests
Provide visual instructions
Preview language of concept prior to assignment
Frequent checks for comprehension at pre-determined points
Vary grading techniques
Modification Strategies, which are being, incorporated in his private therapy:
Use of primarily audition in therapy to improve and maximize his listening.
Use of short and long term memory techniques (i.e. rehearsal, chunking, mnemonics, visual imagery)
Listen for meaning rather than every word
Teach active listening behaviors
Teach Larry to advocate for themselves by asking frequent questions about the material, asking for multiple repetitions or requesting speaker to “write it down”
Teach organizational strategies for learning information
Parent Modification Strategies:
Keep directions or commands short and simple
Use praise often and be positive
Use visuals or gestures at home to compensate for listening difficulties
Assist the Larry in asking clarification questions and being their own advocate
Preview and review classroom material
Review homework directions and assignment due dates with the Larry
Other specific skill strategies that focus on auditory remediation exist in the literature in auditory processing disorders. However, the school-based speech-language pathologist may not necessarily speak to these acoustic skill strategies without a direct IEP goal, which addresses an area of the Larry’s educational deficits. In addition, Larry will benefit greatly from his time in the classroom that pull out services may not meet his academic needs. Also, since IEP goals are derived from a comprehensive assessment and eligibility in other special education certifications as well as direct effect on educational performance, the team may not work with specific auditory skill remediation in isolation. For further information about acoustic skill remediation please refer to the References portion of this section.
Karen L. Anderson, Ph.D., CCC/A.; http://successforkidswithhearingloss.com
Carol Flexer, Ph.D., CCC/A, LSLS Cert. AVT; www.carolflexer.com
Jane R. Madell, PhD CCCA/SLP, LSLS, Cert AVT; www.JaneMadell.com