Am I the only one who has thought this with one of my children? I don't know how many times I have thought, “Can't that kid hear me?" "Why doesn't he just follow the instructions I ask him to do?"
Hi there! It's been a while since I've been inside of this space, so allow me to introduce myself (is that even a thing anymore?) I’m Dr. Rebecka, a wife, mother of three boys, or should I say young men…that’s what we like to call them in our home, educator, learning disabilities specialist, administrator of our local Christian hybrid model school, and founder of this little ministry where we get to take real life experiences, through research, tools and teachings to our missionary friends; helping to SOLVE these learning disabilities, I'm thrilled to be here. I've been busy creating more helpful tools for our members as well as updating and rebranding the tools, which now feature Rocket Dog: The Fun-Loving Beagle imagined by our own struggling learner.
As an educator for over 18 years with experience in all grade levels from early childhood through college levels you can imagine my dismay when I found myself homeschooling not one, but two struggling learners, two of which have auditory processing disorders and one who is hearing impaired. Talk about ciphering the differences, I am here to tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel. Be encouraged!
A little more of my personal story can be found here.
I'm going to be over at Teach Them Diligently next week for their online Back 2 School Conference, so please join me there if you like. All of the Rocket Dog Products in the shop are 20% off using the code: CHERISH21. Hope to see you there.
When I would ask my then 4 year old to put his shoes on, grab his coat, and come to me to help him tie and zip, he would grab is coat, ball cap, and no shoes. I continued to wonder if the child just was not hearing me? Then, I began to wonder, “Is this an obedience issue that needs to be addressed?” After taking classes in dyslexia, brain balance, and spectrum disorders such as ADD, ADHD, Autism, and Auditory Processing amongst others, the dots began to connect. It was then, I realized my child had an Auditory Processing weakness. Are you wondering the same thing?
Well, I've got this handy checklist for you so you can see it for yourself. Click HERE to download.
I don't know about you, but when I found this checklist, I had an AH-HA moment, because even though I had taken classes, and even though I had my own dyslexic child, I did not know about the signs and symptoms to look for in that of an Auditory Processing Weakness. THIS is SO important in academic, social, and behavior skills. Understanding and decoding language, verbal instructions and commands as well as social ques is all related to Auditory Processing. I did not know what to look for or how to stimulate growth in this area, but now I DO! Listening skills and Auditory Processing are not about the ear's ability to hear. Rather, it's all about the brain's ability to decode language, make sense of it all, then produce an appropriate response....complex right? You may be asking, but what does Auditory Processing have to do with Reading?
Well, Auditory Processing Disorder is different from dyslexia, BUT reading is language based, and so is Auditory Processing.
Reading is language based, dyslexia is a language based learning disability, and auditory processing delays are weaknesses in the ability of the brain to filter and process sounds and words especially in language.
This is why many children with dyslexia also have auditory processing issues and auditory processing delays can actually contribute to dyslexia at a young age.
You may be wondering what the difference is between hearing and actual auditory processing, so here are some facts. Several kids with dyslexia have had a hearing test because it was thought the child could not hear well.
Auditory Processing is actually more than just hearing what is being said. Even though kids may have perfect hearing, there could still be an issue with Auditory Processing.
Some research indicates dyslexic kids struggle with both written and spoken language (sight and sound).
Many kids have some kind of auditory issue. Sometimes kids have hearing tests that come out normal but they do not seem to react to sound and a normal way. Then we have some kids who are under sensitive to sound.
Many parents sometimes think their child cannot hear as an infant. The interesting thing is that most are unaware that auditory processing is a difference in the right and left hemispheres, like most sensory detection and processing. It does need to be determined if it is a deficit in the right or the left. You can learn more about the entire Struggling Learner to Thriving Achiever and Brain Balance course over at Cherish Children Ministries School.
It is simply not enough to say that the child has a hearing or auditory processing issue. The reason this is important is because the issues related with this disorder show up differently, and they actually need different approaches.
There is NO sensory function that works by ITSELF. Every single one of the senses are dependent on the other sensory functions, which are dependent on a baseline level of brain activity. Most will assume that if a child just doesn't respond very well to sound that there just must be something wrong with the ears, and usually this is not the case. The hearing pathway in the ears can be perfectly normal, and the Brain could not respond to the sound because brain activity is weak. Now if brain activity is not igniting at the right speed it just cannot keep up with the input of sound.
Auditory Processing can inhibit reading, and some kids have been diagnosed with dyslexia when it's really just an auditory processing disorder. This information is going to help you either way. You might want to add an audiologist to your team for your child. Want to make sure your child has proper hearing.
Parents and teachers often ask me what should be expected at certain ages just as a baseline of guidance.
By the age of: (It is important to note this is just for a baseline)
2-4 years old should be able to do 2-3 step commands
5-6 years old should be able to do 3-4 step commands
7 years-adult should be able to do 7 step commands
You can do a few simple tests to see if your child has decreased hearing, but before you do these tests, check to make sure the child does not have an ear infection or fluid in the ears at the time you conduct the test. Be sure to go to your physician to have the ears checked prior to testing.
Click HERE for a few sample tests for your toolbox.
Sound or Auditory discrimination is the ability to distinguish between similar sounds. Weakness in sound or auditory discrimination might be caused by physical hearing issues or by a weakness in sound perception or any combination of these variables. Sound or auditory discrimination difficulties could affect phonological awareness as well as processing of verbal or auditory information. All of this was news to me even as a doctor of education and being active in the field for over eighteen years. You see,
Language strength is crucial for children to develop proper auditory processing skills. I like to go over the various milestones with parents to help determine the possible underlying issues such as the unintegrated ATNR (primitive reflex). I talk about his on one of my YouTube Videos HERE:
To be Continued....I will discuss the difference between actually “hearing” and that of “auditory processing” and give you an inside look....