What Behavior To Expect From 4 5 Year Old Boy Auditory Processing – An Essential Skill

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Auditory Processing – An Essential Skill

Many of our children (and adults) have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, attention deficit disorder, or central auditory processing disorder. Often drugs are used to control behavior or symptoms but do not address the underlying problems. Parents can determine their children’s current level of auditory processing and then help them increase that level with short, frequent activities every weekday. While this may not solve all the problems your child is facing, it will solve a significant part.

Auditory processing, a fundamental skill, affects a person’s ability to use phonics when reading, follow directions, and pay attention. As an individual’s auditory processing increases, we observe improvements in speech patterns, reasoning, and the ability to understand cause and effect relationships. Social skills increase, leading to a more confident individual. Early in our country’s history, people spoke in much longer sentences and listened most of the time by going to public speeches/debates, listening to others read aloud, discussing topics around dinner, and later listening to radio programs. In contrast, today we are bombarded with visual stimuli in the form of computers, televisions and a multitude of hand-held devices.

In our society today, the average one-year-old child can process one item—for example, “touch the nose.” At two, a child can process two items, a three-year-old can process three items, a four-year-old can process four items, and so on up to seven. By age seven, we seem to stop developing this vital skill. Once the child understands numbers, we measure auditory processing by testing digit span. Until then, we use the same or a similar procedure using word categories, toys or other objects and body parts.

The purpose of testing is to determine each person’s current processing ability. Once you’ve tested an individual, you’ll follow different guidelines. Ideally, the current level of processing should correspond to the person’s age up to the age of 7. The level up is the level for that individual that you will start working on after testing is complete. Prepare some cards that have random sequences of digits (digits 0-9). You should have three sequences for each level ie three sequences with 4 digits, three sequences with 5 digits, up to 7 digits.

This test measures a person’s ability to repeat a random sequence of digits in the same order as on the first attempt. If they get two out of three right, go to the next level and test. Tell the person that you are going to say some numbers and you want them to repeat them back to you in the same order. You say, “I repeat, one…seven.” Say these digits in one-second intervals. The individual will answer “one, seven” in the order you called them. An individual must get two of the three sequences in the correct order the first time to be considered proficient at this level.

Increasing Auditory Sequential Processing: Once you determine an individual’s current level, you begin working on the next level up. Twice a day for 3 minutes you summon random sequences at this level. You can call the digits up to three times before moving on to another sequence. Be optimistic and encourage yourself because it can be tiring. Some reinforcement will help. For example, filling a jar with beans can lead to special time with mom or dad or a special family activity. Remember, each digit represents a year of development, but with consistent work 5 days a week, progress happens faster – but not overnight. If the child can take the next step for the first time 80% of the time within two weeks, you can move up one step.

For an older child, do the “Item Span” activities at the free website: http://www.cognitivefun.net. Younger kids will enjoy: http://pbskids.org/curiousgeorge/games/banana_411/

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