Auditory processing problems are on the rise! One thing that goes hand and hand with this frustrating condition is the inability of the student to understand oral directions or commands. Can you imagine trying to understand how to do long division if you only hear parts of the words spoken? Or how about if you could only focus on the computer whirring in the background or your neighbor’s pencil scraping across the page and can’t hear the teacher’s instructions.
Even in a quiet place, students with auditory processing problems have a difficult time understanding verbal directions. Following are some suggestions that will help you and your child or student when giving directions.
- Speak slowly and clearly to the student.
- Make sure the student is looking at your face and not somewhere else. Many of these students learn to lip read at an early age.
- Only give one direction at a time. For instance, don’t say “Get your boots, shirt, and pants on, then come and eat breakfast.” Instead, say “Get your boots.” Once the child has retrieved the boots, then tell him/her to get the shirt. Then instruct him/her to get the pants. Next, have him/her get dressed. Next, instruct the child to eat breakfast. This is a bit laborious, but it will same time and frustration in the long run. It will help avoid meltdowns and tantrums as well.
- Eliminate as much background noise as you can. This isn’t always possible, but aim for it.
- Make games out of instructions, such as having the child singing or chanting them with you.
- Get the body involved. Clap each verbal direction or have the child sway back and forth while saying the direction with you.
- Try different ways of explaining the directions. If one method doesn’t work, keep trying.
- Have the student repeat the oral directions back to you in his/her own words. Check to see if it is the same direction that you gave. If not, try a different approach and have him/her repeat it back to you again..
- Use as many visual cues as you can. You can have the student draw out the directions or use cards with pictures on them for regular activities that the child stumbles with.
Keep thinking of different activities that will help your child succeed with auditory commands and directions. If your child is struggling in school because of an auditory processing problem, make sure he/she is getting help. This condition won’t go away on its own.