Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ways to improve auditory processing skills in children

Poor auditory processing skill is an often neglected and undiagnosed problem that around 5% of children face. It has symptoms that overlap with ADHD, ADD, ASD, LD, which makes it very difficult for a parent to understand the real issue. Presence of poor auditory processing skill often leads to over-diagnosis of the other disorders mentioned above.

Typical symptoms that a child with poor auditory processes faces are:
·          Difficulty in following instructions
·          Difficulty in differentiating subtly different words
·          Over/under sensitivity to sounds around
·          Speech delay/difficulty
·          Difficulty in sound articulation
·          Difficulty in following a conversation

Activities for strengthening auditory processes:

·        Auditory reception (Comprehension: the child listens to an auditory input and responds to the relevant questions asked).
·        Auditory figure ground (list of heterogeneous words is given to the child and the child has to group the words based on some concept. E.g. tree, river, mountain, snakes, tiger ---> Jungle).
·        Auditory discrimination ( giving words like pin- pen, sake- sale, time- chime and asking him whether they are different or not. Lip reading shouldn’t facilitate the process. Recognizing different animal sounds is also very helpful).
·        Auditory sequential memory (numbers or letters are given to the child and the child repeats them in the same sequence. E.g. 2,7,4 said by the teacher and the child repeats).
·        Auditory closure (a word is spelled with certain letter missing and the child has to give the missing letter. E.g. For_st, _ne).
·        Auditory concept (giving similarities and differences between certain words. E.g. Forest and zoo, mango and banana, cat and rat).
·        List of words given for immediate recall and delayed recall.
·        Reading short stories and recalling them.
·        Repetition of sentences.
·        Word pair recall of both familiar(cow-milk, paper-pencil) and unfamiliar pairs(paper-water, spoon-eraser). Child is told all the words in pair, then one word of each pair is asked and he should say the other word.
·        Word game (first person says one word, second person says the first word and gives another word , first person says the first two words and gives another word, and so on).

This is not an exhaustive list of activities but just an idea of what can be done when you observe any auditory problem happening in your child. In fact, it is a good idea to do these activities anyways in all kids in the foundation years to strengthen their auditory focus and processes. 

Disclaimer: this write-up is not a diagnostic and therapeutic tool for Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

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