When it comes to doing well in school, having the right tools and strategies can give kids a big head start. Here’s our list of suggestions to help kids with auditory processing issues get set up for success.
- Ear protection: Classrooms, even quiet ones, are full of background noise making it extra hard for kids with auditory processing issues to hear and comprehend important information. Try getting some comfortable, flesh-toned earplugs to block out irrelevant sound and make it easier for her to focus on what the teacher is saying. (Avoid brightly colored plugs that stand out. Subtle is best for kids who want to blend in!)
- Front row seat: Some kids with auditory issues use visual cues and clues to aid comprehension. Try rehearsing ahead of time how your daughter will ask for a seat at the front of the room, where there is less chatter from other kids and she has a better chance of being able to process what the teacher is saying.
- Record it! Equip kids with a good-quality recording device or a well-regarded smartphone app like QuickVoicePro, which has a transcription feature. This way, if kids miss parts of the lecture it’s easy to go back and re-listen as many times as she likes, at a speed she’s comfortable with.
- Get it on paper: Ask teachers to write homework assignments down for your child each day so she won’t have to rely on announcements, which are easy to miss (or mishear). The same goes for big tests, field trips, and special activities. A written record reduces the risk of mix-ups and mistakes.
- Sequences and signs: Ask teachers to include a few verbal cues to help kids with auditory issues follow along. Using “sequencing” (or organizing) words like first, second, then, last, help kids stay engaged and oriented during lectures. Similarly, teachers can use guidepost phrases like “Here’s the thing,” or “we’re coming to the important part” to let kids know it’s time to pay attention.
- Work out a script, and practice it… Teaching self-advocacy skills is one of the most powerful ways you can support a child, and help her learn to support herself. Practice talking about her needs at home and work out a clear, simple script to help her get her message across at school.
- …or write a letter: Of course, even with a script some kids might feel anxious about talking with teachers and friends, but this doesn’t mean you can’t help your child build her self-advocacy skills. Try working together to write a letter explaining her auditory issues. Then, make copies and ask her to be responsible for sharing it with teachers, counselors, and other important people in her life.