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Help! Can't That Child Hear Me? Part 2

In the last blog, I told you we would discover the difference between actually "hearing" and that of "auditory processing" let's take that on for just a moment.

Typically kids with dyslexia are encouraged to have a hearing test because parents and educators believed there was a hearing issue.

At birth, typical auditory development signals the baby is familiar with parents' sounds, and becomes startled at strange sounds, but cannot yet distinguish where sounds are coming from due to the fact the brain has not formed a visual memory of the sound yet. You may have noticed your child likes the sound of a humidifier or a fan but does not know where the sound is coming from. However, at about 4-6 months, the baby becomes more aware of where sound is. Children this age know a rattle makes one sound while a big brother or sister makes a different sound. You may notice the child looking at you differently and really trying intently to understand what you are saying.

Remember the ATNR reflex? Well, between 6-12 months of age, the baby will begin to crawl, and this is very important. The baby will crawl towards the sound and even the call of his own name, and make connections with sounds and movement. Peek-a-boo is a favorite and it is understood objects have names like mamma and daddy, meow, baba, do-do and will try to imitate those sounds.

This ATNR reflex was active at birth, and it connected shoulder movement to neck movement and helped the child descend down the birth canal. The ATNR should be integrated by 6-12 months of age. If it is not, it will affect free crawling. This can become an issue because of its impact on auditory processing. Some kiddos will army crawl, or use one side more than the other if they still have the ATNR reflex present. I advise parents to be sure to ask your pediatrician if this reflex is integrated at your well-baby visit.

If the ATNR is not integrated, it can interfere with proper development. Why? As the baby crawls, he will move his head back and forth trying to take in sounds from places in the room, and this will assist in auditory development in each ear. The baby will learn to understand sounds, away, above, around, to, from, near, and far. The baby will crawl toward the sound and understand the noise becomes more intense while crawling away from, the sound fades.

Pronouns are learned around the age of 2, and kids will begin to combine two words phrases such as mama go, “baba drink.

By the time a child is about 3 years of age, the child will be able to find hidden objects, comprehend simple commands, and recognize questions, love songs, and rhymes, and develop comprehension of 2 step commands.

By 4-5 years old, 200-400 words will be in the child’s vocabulary bank. Simple concepts are understood such as, it’s behind the door, or in the bottom of the drawer or it is on top of the shelf. This is the age where children should be able to understand a three-part command, such as: go get your coat, put it on, and bring your shoes to me so I can help you tie them. If the child can only do one part of the command, you might think the child is not obeying, but these kids really may forget because of the processing delay. These kids have a hard time storing and recalling the steps properly and also might stare off into space. They sometimes get diagnosed with an attention deficit disorder when it is really just an auditory processing issue.

I often wondered why our son would mix up parts of a word. I thought he needed some speech therapy, but I soon realized he struggled with auditory ordering and sequencing like many children who are misdiagnosed with a speech articulation issue. Children with a weekend sequencing ability will recall and store information out of order, like syllables, and might say (bullfallow instead of buffalo, or aminal instead of animal) and they get their numbers out of order so they might say 36 instead of 63. Steps of instructions might be remembered and done out of order. These kids may struggle with speech, reading, and math.

He was not able to integrate auditory input and had difficulty understanding words as a whole. At this point, I knew he had dyslexia, but this was when I realized the WHY. The right side of his brain was not communicating with the left to understand the language. Continuing to struggle to understand the meaning of words when sounded aloud was a daily battle until we started auditory brain exercises. Our son always needed to see an example of what he was supposed to do and never wanted to try anything first because he did not understand the instructions. He would just wait and see what others were doing before giving it a try. These sweet kids are really good at catching on quickly.

You may find your child struggles with social situations, has poor spelling, poor grammar, and poor reading skills. Most likely this is due to decoding issues which, again is related to auditory processing delays. Differences in similar sounds are not heard like pig vs. big.

Perhaps your child is withdrawn from school or social gatherings because of noises. Most likely this is due to auditory figure-ground discrimination. This is because there is a deficit in the ability to separate sounds.

Speech articulation may be the struggle for your child, and if this is so the case, the most likely contributor is that of an auditory output or organization deficit. Children will say words out of order and confuse similar sounds where they are often mistaken to have a speech delay when articulation is the skill required for speech, but the organization output could be contributing to the speech issue.

Maybe your child can hear sounds and order just fine, but struggles to connect it to meaning. If so, this could be due to an auditory associative deficit. Parents can oftentimes become frustrated with these kids because they were able to repeat instructions verbatim, however, are not able to carry out the task at hand due to the fact that meaning was not made.

Does your child speak in a monotone voice or have difficulty with rhythm and tones in voices? Chances are the child has an auditory prosodic deficit which prevents kids from being able to hear modulation and tones so they are not able to cipher differences in sound and inflection in voices. These kids will struggle in social situations due to the fact they cannot cipher the differences in sounds of voices and mistake when someone is teasing or being funny versus being mad or frustrated. It’s important to steer clear of sarcasm with these little ones.

You may be surprised to learn Short-Term Memory can also contribute to our little auditory delayed learners. Since short-term memory is used to store and recall information, sounds and words, it would make sense that when there is a weakness in this area it can cause the language processing part of the brain and memory not to communicate effectively. Herein lies the problem as this contributes to reading struggles and difficulty remembering steps. Remember a word learned today will have to be retaught again tomorrow.

Emotions run high in our auditory delayed learners. Since sound triggers different emotional responses, hearing different stimuli can be a strong trigger.

You will want to get an audiologist on your child’s team if you suspect auditory delays.

Here are the MOST LOVED activities. These are listening and response exercises to help stimulate growth in these areas we’ve just discussed. Together, with my colleague, we created these beautiful effective cards for our struggling learners. Kids really like these games.

Find some WHO AM I SCENES over on the Cherish Children shop. Kids really like these too. You can head over to the Cherish Children Ministries website and grab those HERE.

The Auditory Processing Cards are meant to be a FUN way to help your child stimulate and increase the brain processing. These cards and activities will aid the child in:

· Associative Deficit

· Prosodic Deficit

· Sequencing (you may use along with the Brain Balance cards SEQUENCING portion for this activity). When giving more than one clue at a time and asking child to mark off the images in the same order as they have been called out orally will assist with sequencing.

You can purchase the ENTIRE MINI COURSE with EVERYTHING you NEED. Dr. Spencer will walk you through all of the steps, and GET RESULTS that LAST.

Processing disorders, like auditory processing disorder, visual processing disorder, and sensory processing disorder are caused by a deficiency in a person’s ability to effectively use the information gathered by the senses. More about visual and sensory processing later, so make sure you subscribe to our email.

If you have a child or a student who you believe has auditory processing issues, it is important for you to know the issue is not the result of impaired hearing, impaired vision, attention disorders, or learning deficit. It is simply this; if the brain cannot properly process the auditory, visual, and sensory information it receives, a child’s ability to learn and thrive in an academic setting is affected, often leading to low self-esteem and social withdrawal.

So, what does all of this mean? Well, Auditory Processing Disorder could be affecting a child’s ability to hear all of the sounds in words, making it difficult for them to connect meaning to words.

The BEST part, is you can do SO many strengthening exercises Right in your OWN home without spending hundreds of dollars on fancy centers and special equipment. It just takes a little know-how, the time, and consistency. You CAN do it!

After I began to do all of these really FUN and as my sons would say, “kinda crazy” exercises, it was like a flip of a switch, in that the light turned on. Just the other day, our 10-year-old had three-step instructions for a language lesson. He was supposed to draw a line between the subject and predicate, underline the simple subject once and the verb twice. He was thrilled when he said, “Look, Mom, I numbered the steps of what I was supposed to do without you helping me.” The Auditory Processing cards & course are on SALE NOW. Go grab those Most Loved cards HERE.

Here’s to YOUR Success!

Be Blessed,

Dr. Rebecka

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