“Pick up your shoes and put them by the door.” This seems like a pretty straightforward direction. But for someone with an auditory processing disorder following through with those tasks could present a problem. They may have trouble remembering what was just said or might seem as if they couldn’t hear what was said at all.
Our auditory and listening skills are processed in our brains and begin with our ability to hear. These skills can be broken down into awareness, discrimination, identification and comprehension. Auditory processing allows us to identify locations of sounds, discriminate between them, attach meaning to speech, understand and follow through with verbal directions or summarize something we’ve heard. When a child has difficulty with one or more of these skills they may have trouble with speech, reading and writing. They might also be hyper or hypo sensitive to certain sounds or noisy environments.
There are many sensory play activities that can promote listening and early literacy skills for any child including those with an auditory processing disorder.
- Use recorded sounds such as animal noises that are identified. These sounds can be matched to a picture for a version of BINGO for older children.
- Children can close their eyes and listen to a sound made by an adult such as tearing paper or bouncing a ball.
- Repeat a clapping or stomping pattern.
- Hide an object that makes sound and hunt for the object.
Music and Songs
- Sing songs that require following directions such as Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes or action songs like Wheels on the Bus.
- Make your own instruments like rain sticks and drums.
- Allow for experimenting with playing instruments loudly, softly and with varying patterns.
- Sing songs that teach concepts and help with memorization such as the ABC’s or days of the week.
Letter Sounds and Speech
- Use nursery rhymes or riddles to work on rhyming words.
- Find pictures of words that use the same beginning sound.
Listening skills build a strong foundation for literacy and language learning, social relationships and musical ability. And being able to appropriately process what we hear in our world can easily be achieved through play!
Amy is a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom and writer. She loves sharing what she knows about family, play and early learning. When she’s not at her computer you can find her spending family time, organizing or decorating her home, reading a good self-help book or pretending she knows how to cook but she usually leaves that to her awesome husband!