Assisting a child with ADP at home and in the classroom
It is recommended that direct intervention for APD (eg. auditory training or speech therapy) be combined with improved environmental conditions and enhanced communication techniques to find ways to help children compensate for their difficulties. Compensatory strategies are not meant to cause avoidance of auditory learning but to enable the child to recognise situations where their listening will be challenged.
Repetition is not a helpful tool in dealing with children who have APD. The comprehension problems are not a result of not hearing the words but of having trouble using the words to interpret the message efficiently. Messages that are not understood must be rephrased slowly with reference to the guidelines below.
1. Eliminating environmental distractions
Anything that can shift the child’s focus from the required task should be kept to a minimum. Possible distractions include background noise (appliances, conversations, traffic, etc) and visual clutter (objects on table, crowded blackboard, etc). It is best to seat a child with APD towards the front of the classroom. Open-plan classrooms have been shown to cause more confusion for children with this condition, so a structured setting is preferable.
2. Improving listening comprehension
Teachers and parents alike tend to deliver most instructions through speech. These can be more carefully structured so that a child with APD has the best possible chance of interpreting the intended message.
Some strategies for presenting information to a child with APD include:
Spoken instructions can be enhanced by:
Checking a child’s progress in comprehension can be done in a number of ways:
The adult dealing with a child who has APD should make an effort to do the following:
3. Other techniques
In specific environments, other techniques include using ear plugs, which may help to reduce unwanted auditory stimuli. Teachers and parents can also actively simplify the child’s visual environment, especially in situations where learning may be challenging.