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Teaching Students With Auditory Processing Disorder

written by: jennyflores • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 9/7/2012

Auditory processing disorder is extremely frustrating for those who have it. There are easy changes you can make in your classroom that can help students with this learning disability.

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    Strategies for Success

    Auditory processing disorder is a common underlying factor in dyslexia. Every sound has a base frequency combined with higher frequencies. When two words have nearly the same base frequency students with auditory processing disorder will hear the sounds correctly but their brains will misinterpret the information. Common letters with the same base frequencies are "B/P" and "T/D". Students can figure out what was said but by that time the speaker is already into his next sentence. This makes it difficult for the person with auditory processing disorder to process language as quickly as his classmates.

    There are intervention techniques, such as retraining the ear to hear the higher frequencies in similar words, that can have a drastic impact on student learning. There are also simple, effective classroom tips that can greatly reduce the difficulty experienced by these students.

    Because background noise has such a negative impact on their ability to correctly process sounds, thought should be given on ways to minimize the background noise in your classroom. This can be as simple as seating the student away from doors, windows, pencil sharpeners, and the air conditioner. Seating the student as close to the instructor as possible is another good idea. It is helpful to the student with auditory processing disorder to be able to see the face of the person talking. More ideas for reducing background noise are to use curtains, keep the doors and windows closed, and put rubber tips on the bottom of chairs. If at all possible, try to schedule heavy listening activities early in the day before fatigue has set in.

    Because it is as important for the student to be successful in the classroom as it is to strengthen weaknesses, written directions should accompany verbal instruction. Clarify homework and test directions with the student to avoid unnecessary difficulty. It could be helpful to the student to carry a planner. Be sure to make sure assignments and due dates have been transcribed correctly. A good parent-teacher relationship can head off problems in this area before they become insurmountable.

    When teaching it is important to simplify directions and have the student repeat the directions back to you. Incorporate activities into the daily routine that can strengthen the area of weakness. Rhyming games and reading nonsense words help build phonological awareness. Reciting poems and jingles, drawing story sequences from memory, as well as memory and sequence songs help increase auditory memory.

    Auditory processing disorder presents many challenges to the student. Efforts taken by the teacher to eliminate as many of the obstacles as possible can help the student overcome some of those challenges.