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HELPING CHILDREN WITH AUDITORY IMPAIRMENTS – PART 2

View Part 1 of this article here.

The Auditory System has a tremendous capacity for change in response to targeted interventions. In the sections below, I will share many strategies to re-mediate or compensate for the auditory processing difficulties I have described in part one of this article. First, children with auditory difficulties need special accommodations. Accommodations for children with auditory processing disorders can be divided into three categories: those that optimize the classroom environment, those that optimize Information Input, and those that are necessary in test settings.

Optimizing the Classroom Environment

To make the classroom a more acoustically friendly environment:

  • Seat children with auditory processing disorders close to the teacher (or other speakers), in a place where they can hear well and have a clear vision of the teacher’s face.
  • Minimize background noise and auditory distractions and particularly noisy classmates.
  • Minimize visual distractions such as windows and busy wall displays.
  • Improve classroom acoustics by using carpets and wall hangings to cover echo-prone surfaces.

Optimizing Information Input

Provide students information in forms that children with auditory processing disorders can easily process:

  • Because they must often devote all their mental energy just to listening, children with auditory impairments typically have tremendous difficulty taking notes. When instruction is given in auditory form, they should be given access to the teacher’s notes or to notes taken by another student. If textbooks are available on the topic, they should be allowed to take them home. They should also receive all important instructions, assignments, and due dates in written form.
  • Students with auditory impairments learn familiar topics more easily. Let them pre-learn new key terms and topics throughout textbooks or the teacher’s notes before these new materials are presented in class.
  • Because children with auditory impairments often have difficulty following class discussions, they will have difficulty answering oral questions on the spot. Let them know the night before or at the start of a session what question they’ll be asked to discuss, then let them lead off the discussion, to make sure they can have a chance to speak before the topic changes.
  • Use multi-sensory forms of instruction whenever possible.
  • Use pictures, charts, maps, graphs, models and hands-on learning as much as possible. Use closed-captioning with all audiovisual materials.

Special Accommodations for Testing

Testing accommodations are essential for all children with auditory impairments.

  • Provide all testing instructions in writing.
  • Oral testing is usually not appropriate.

Peripheral Hearing loss due to ear infections, chronic serous effusions in the middle ear (glue ear) is an important problem in children and one with potentially devastating consequences. Any child suspected of peripheral hearing loss should receive a careful evaluation from an audiologist including Auditory Processing Evaluation if they are suffering from any school and/or communication problem suggesting auditory impairment. They should also see an ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) specialist.

Helping Children with Auditory Processing Disorders

Background Noise Auditory ClosurePractice with noise
Song Lyrics
Closed-captioning
FM Amplifications
Teacher’s notes
Computer learningPreview & Pre-learn
Discrimination Train discrimination
Guided Oral ReadingAuditory Closure
Closed-captioning
Visual supports
Teacher’s notes
Rule Based Phonics
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Prosody Train music, pitch
Train timing, rhythm
Guided Oral Reading
Poems, jokes
Animated teacher
Localization Train localization
Emphasize Visual Cues
Environmental changesCarpeted floors
Preferential seating
Delayed Processing Visual Learning
VisualizationChunk Information
Key words
More time to answer
Online learning
Prepared questions
Memory Train Auditory Memory
Visualization
Context
Personalization
Visual Supports
Teacher’s notes
Book at Home
Written Instructions
Hypersensitivity Sound
Desensitization
Environmental Changes
Sparing Use of Musician’s ear filters

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