June 7th, 2012 | Posted in Auditory Processing Disorder

Student and teacherA classroom should be a place where children are able to learn and to have fun without having to struggle to listen. If competing noises interfere with your child’s ability to focus on and attend to what their teachers are saying, they’ll lose the desire to pay attention and learn.

Informed advocacy on behalf of your child is simply vital. If your son or daughter has been diagnosed with APD or identified with a listening disorder,  contact your school and ask to set up a meeting with your child’s  teachers, counselors and any other specialists and school personnel that will be working with or instructing your child that year. Anyone at your child’s school who directly interacts with your child will be able to do their job better once they understand the disorder, how it affects your child, and what classroom and school accommodations can help.

Be persistent.  School administrators often feel that they have the answers – and sometimes they do. The usual initial official response to a meeting request is, “We know how to handle this issue.” Your child’s school may very well have taught children with auditory challenges before but the specifics of how APD affects learning are varied and highly individual. Your school may have learned how to support a child with a completely different set of symptoms than your child.

Once you convince your school of the necessity for a meeting, make sure that the speech-language pathologist or audiologist you have consulted or are working with attends the meeting and maps out an agenda.   The school needs to be told

  • the type of disorder or challenge your child has,
  • how it is expressed in your child,
  • what accommodations can be made, and
  • that helping your child to achieve their full learning and social potential at school requires a team effort.

Some recommendations and possibilities need to be discussed:

  • Reducing noise in the classroom
  • Preferential seating so that your child can see and hear the teacher
  • Possibly using amplification equipment for your child like a personal FM receiver or a sound field system. Sound-field technology amplifies a teacher’s voice through a wireless transmitter and allows every child in a classroom to hear equally.
  • Using close captioning on  videos and DVD’s shown in class

These meetings provide a win-win situation for everyone concerned. Teachers appreciate the information they get about a child’s needs, and both child and parent gain additional respect for a school that is supportive and willing to listen.

Image credit: Paul Gooddy / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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