Thursday, November 21, 2013

Forgetting Plates and Auditory Processing

Conversation with my daughter this morning....

Me: how are you doing this morning?
Anna: Fine...forgetting a plate.
Me: forgetting a plate?

I'm wondering...what bearing does this have on how she's doing? Where is the plate--in her room? I've told the kids not to keep dishes in their rooms. What's so important about this plate?

Anna: For. Getting. Up. Late!

Yes, I'm auditorily challenged this morning!

I often have a similar glitch--the spaces between words disappear and my mind has to tease out the sounds and decide which ones form words. When I was 7, I asked "what?" whenever my mother spoke to often that she had my hearing tested! What I heard was...


My hearing tested fine, and I learned to stop saying "what?" all the time, to pause, and to wait for the sounds to separate into meaningful words in my mind. And it works...most of the time.

There is that line in Jingle Bells that puzzled me for years. It made sense to me that they were "making spare-ribs bright." That meant they were putting lots of barbecue sauce on them--one of my favorite meals! It would be warm and cozy after a breezy sleigh-ride. But why they took soap with them was just beyond me. ("a one-horse soap and sleigh.")

And then there was that country song..."You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille." I could never figure out why he was so worried about his crop in the field, since he had 400 children. My mother would have put those children to work in that field, and they'd get the job done! Years later I laughed when I was "four hungry children."

Enunciation. It's a good thing!

When I started homeschooling, I learned about Central Auditory Processing Disorder, and my glitches started making sense to me!

If you've ever questioned your child's hearing and not found anything wrong...this may be what's going on.

Some things that help:

Slow down just a bit when you read aloud. Pause just slightly more between sentences and paragraphs.

Have your child sit where he or she can watch your mouth so that the sounds will be crisper. For example, letters like M and N can be very difficult to distinguish, but it's easy to see the difference in how we form these sounds.

Do school work in a quiet room with few distractions--your child will be using a lot of energy trying to focus on what you say. This is especially important for reading and spelling work.

Use multi-sensory methods to reinforce your teaching, rather than relying on one method (this has been found helpful for all kids, actually, but is even more important when a child has a struggle with one particular method). Don't attempt to explain things all orally--use manipulatives to "show" what you are saying in math, or letter tiles for reading or spelling. (Programs like Math-U-See, All About Reading, and All About Spelling integrate manipulatives.)

Shorten explanations and directions. (Remember the teacher on the Peanuts cartoons?! That's what our children hear when we talk too long or too quickly!) wah-wa-wah-wah-wahhhhhh....

Don't avoid reading aloud--my daughter sometimes has similar missteps in her hearing, and when she was young, she often didn't enjoy our read-aloud time. I think continuing with read-alouds strengthened this mode of learning for her though, and she came to enjoy read-alouds a lot (still one of the favorite parts of our day--here's one of her favorite ways to listen!)

Allow for “lag time” while your child processes what you just said--they need time to let all the sounds become (hopefully meaningful!) words.

Don't take it personally if your child becomes frustrated or argumentative during a lesson--that may be a sign you need to back up a bit, review something easier, and try the new concept again in a bit or even on a new day.

And...laugh. After all...forgetting a plate IS pretty funny!

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