Auditory Processing Disorder

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Auditory Processing Disorder

A few weeks ago, Koko was diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder, also known as APD. I took him for a hearing test because our main concern was that he kept telling us he didn’t hear what we said to him if he wasn’t looking us or got distracted.

The audiologist did a fantastic job in working out what the problem is and allaying my concerns. Koko’s hearing is the best she has ever seen in all her years of working, so his ears aren’t the problem. The problem comes in when there are a myriad of sounds and when we speak to him, the signal from his ears doesn’t make it to the brain. He struggles to distinguish between sounds. For instance, if he is watching TV and we are speaking, he turns it up louder and louder and drown out any other sounds.
Auditory Processing Disorder
Koko went from being my child who “doesn’t listen and follow instructions”, to the child I have always known he is. We have learned what we need to do in order to get him to hear us. Getting all of us to understand that he has to make eye contact with us, was a challenge in the beginning.

Our audiologist has said that homeschooling is the best environment for him as there are less distractions and we can tailor the environment to suit his needs. Had he been in the school system, she said that hearing aids, to help him distinguish sounds, would have been the only option. Thankfully he doesn’t need that at this stage, but should it become more of a problem, it will be our next course of action. So we will continue to monitor him at home and in other environments to see how he is coping.

I have found that implementing some of the suggestions below have helped me communicate better with him (and Papa Steve, who has the same problems, so it’s definitely genetic in this case, as per the audiologist).
Auditory Processing Disorder

What can we do to help?

There are a number of strategies that can help people with APD.

Auditory training

Auditory training involves using special activities to help train your brain to analyse sound better. You can do this on your own, with the help of an audiologist, or by using a computer programme or CD.

It involves a range of tasks, such as identifying sounds and guessing where they’re coming from, or trying to focus on specific sounds when there’s some slight background noise.

The tasks can be adapted for people of different ages, with children often learning through games or by reading with their parents.

Changes at home or school

Be aware of room acoustics and how it can affect your ability to hear. Rooms with hard surfaces will cause echoes, so rooms with carpets and soft furnishings are best.

Switch off any radios or televisions and move away from any noisy devices, such as fans.

If your child has problems hearing, talk to school staff about changes that may help them, such as sitting near the teacher, using visual aids and reducing background noise.

Your child may also benefit from wearing a radio receiver or having a speaker on their desk at school, which is connected wirelessly to a small microphone worn by their teacher.

Alternatively, a speaker system in the class that’s connected to the teacher’s microphone may help your child hear their teacher over any background noise.

Help from others

It may be useful to tell other people about your hearing problems and let them know what they can do to help you hear more clearly.

Ask them to:

* get your attention and face you before they talk
* speak clearly and at a normal pace (not too fast or too slow)
* emphasise their speech to highlight the key points of the message
* repeat or rephrase the message if necessary

Other strategies that might be particularly useful when talking to children with APD include:

* not covering your mouth when talking to them
* not using long sentences when you talk
* using pictures to help them understand what you mean
Auditory Processing Disorder

So what is Auditory Processing Disorder?

Auditory processing disorder (APD), also known as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), is a hearing problem that affects about 5% of school-aged children.

APD can affect people in many different ways. A child with APD may appear to have a hearing impairment, but this isn’t usually the case and testing often shows their hearing is normal.

It can affect your ability to:

*understand speech – particularly if there’s background noise, more than one person speaking, the person is speaking quickly, or the sound quality is poor
*distinguish similar sounds from one another – such as “shoulder versus soldier” or “cold versus called”
*concentrate when there’s background noise – this can lead to difficulty understanding and remembering instructions, as well as difficulty speaking clearly and problems with reading and spelling
*enjoy music

Many people with APD find it becomes less of an issue over time as they develop the skills to deal with it.

Although children may need extra help and support at school, they can be as successful as their classmates.

What are the symptoms?

Is your child easily distracted or unusually bothered by loud or sudden noises?

Are noisy environments upsetting to your child?

Does your child’s behavior and performance improve in quieter settings?

Does your child have difficulty following directions, whether simple or complicated?

Does your child have reading, spelling, writing, or other speech-language difficulties?

Are verbal (word) math problems difficult for your child?

Is your child disorganized and forgetful?

Are conversations hard for your child to follow?

APD is often misunderstood because many of the behaviors noted above also can accompany other problems, like learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and even depression.

References:
NHS – Auditory processing disorder
KidsHealth – Auditory Processing Disorder

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Sponsored: Educational Toy Online Store

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Educational Toy Online Store

Educational Toy Online Store

Finding a decent educational toys online store can sometimes prove tricky. There are so many different options and finding one that actually delivers can be a nightmare.

I stumbled across DH Gate a few years ago when we started homeschooling and have ordered from them on a few occasions with no hassles and received good service from them.

I am a firm believer that education should be taught using practical and sensory methods. In my opinion, it helps to cement the new concept. I have noticed the kidlets use their hands to mimic the work we have done on certain topics, like times tables. I have always used manipulatives and sensory activities in our lessons and the kidlets have always found that by using these manipulatives or sensory methods has helped my kidlets quite a bit.

Here are some of my favourite finds for Mathematics, Science and Language Arts.

Mathematics

Wooden Counting Sticks
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Geometry Blocks Set
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1-100 Digit Square
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Wooden Balance Scale
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Science

Life Cycle of Corn Specimen, Resin Embedded
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Insects Magnification Cup Amplifier Tank
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Twin Live Steam Engine Model Kit
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Language Arts

100Pcs Set Wooden Scrabble Tiles
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Alphabet Wooden Puzzle
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Literacy Fun Game
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Digital Alphabet Letters A~Z Alphabetical & 0~9 Numerical Soft EVA Foam Mats
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12 Months of Montessori Learning ~ May: Sensorial

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Sensorial activities are by far my favourite tupe of activity to plan for the children. Koko, in particular, has always enjoyed these activities the most. He is a kinesthetic and tactile learner.

Sensory activities are not just limited to sensory boxes, but is something your child is constantly doing.

Simple activities like baking or cooking are perfect for little ones. Who doesn’t love making cookies with momma?

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Messy play is a HUGE favourite here, the kidlets are always dirty, LOL.

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Goop, edible finger paint, finger painting, play dough, stamping and exploring are some of the things the kids do regularly.

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Sensory boxes are fairly simple to put together. Coloured rice and pasta, lentils and toys are what we generally use for our sensory boxes. I also use sandpit sand and water beads to mix things up a little. Beading boxes are something we have available for the kidlets to explore daily. I have a few different boxes that I swap out regularly to keep things “new” and different. You can find recipes for making your own coloured rice or pasta in my Pinterest boards below.

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I made Pixie an eye spy box with rice and different shaped beads. I should have used a bottle instead, it didn’t last as long as it could have.

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We made the kidlets a simple light table with a clear rectangular container and white Christmas lights. This is a great activity for dark, miserable, rainy days.

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Science experiements are also great sensory activities. A few years ago, Noo did a water erosion experiment which is a perfect example of a sensory experiment.

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12 Months of Montessori Learning Posts:
January: Practical Life
February: Geography
March: Language Arts
April: Botany

Montessori Madness ~ What is a Light Table?

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What is a light table? A light table is an illuminated table, panel, or box. They are used for learning and exploring different educational toys and materials, as therapy for autistic, sight impaired and other special needs children, for artists to draw and trace on, for Doctors to view X-Rays, and widely used as an educational staple in Reggio Emilia based schools.
~ Kristen from Caution! Twins at Play

How to Build an Easy DIY Light Table from Tinkerlab
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Have you ever wanted a light table, and wondered if there was an easy way to build a DIY light table yourself? Well, this easy DIY light table could be your answer! Once I figured out which materials to use, the whole thing took about 10 minutes to assemble.

Light Tables 101 (featuring 101 ways to use a light table) from Caution! Twins at Play
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An Atmosphere for Creativity from Casa Maria’s Creative Learning Zone
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In a mentally playful environment, loose parts are the key for creative play. With them, children learn to construct, take turns, knock down, plan and start all over again.

Colour fun with our DIY lightbox from Filth Wizardry
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I’ve seen light tables with coloured transparent perspex shapes at a couple of children’s museums in the past, and the kids have had a great deal of fun with them, so I thought it would be nice to see if we could have a cheap home version.

Decorative gels windows … and boxes and light tables! from De Tout Et De Rein
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Here is another good example of material that I love: decorative gels for windows. You can find them in dollar stores, drug stores, and large shopping areas: They are everywhere! Cheap, they create wonderful sets to play with, tell stories, make mathematical series with the light table. The touch, the texture is fun to handle.

Bingo Play from Mom at Play LLC
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Here is a simple yet fun invitation we set up the other day.

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To see more wonderful light table ideas, click on my board below



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Montessori Madness ~ Play Dough Trays

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Pixie struggles terribly with insomnia and its not unheard of for her to be up till 2 in the morning. She shares a bedroom with Fifi and to keep her from waking her during a bad sleeping period (which can last up to a month) I keep her with me in the living room. A few weeks ago, we decided to start her on a regimen of homeopathic remedies to help her sleep, its slow going, but she slept through for 2 nights in a row! I digress, I’ll post more on our (both Pixie and I struggle) battle with insomnia at a later stage. I saw this great post on Racheous Lovable Learning and just had to make a playdough tray for Pixie for bad nights.

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I added the following to her tray: Scented Playdough Cookie cutters Rolling pin Roller cutter Butter ball maker Bottle tops Later on that night I added: Metal tweezer tool (this is Papa’s, shhhhh, don’t tell 😉 ) Gem stones from the local gem stone mine’s scratch patch

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The Montessori tray method is working like a charm with her and this just kept her occupied till she was ready to lie down and fall asleep.

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Her excitement at discovering the bottle tops was palpable. It was amazing to watch her play quietly and contently for so long, uninterrupted. The playdough tray now features weekly in her activities.

Below you’ll find some of my favourite online playdough tray finds.

DIY Montessori Fine Motor Activities | Low to No Cost from Racheous
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Playdough is a cheap (with the myriad of incredible DIY recipes on the web, like this no-cook play dough) and the ultimate material for fine motor development. Think cutting, pinching, rolling, molding, poking, etc.

Playdough Playtrays for Playdates from Creative Playhouse
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Play trays are great, whether they are sensory, play based, creative or even a reading tray. It clearly shows what is available to play with; aiding focus, and helps contain any materials used.

Simple Alphabet Play Dough Activity Tray from Little Bins for Little Hands
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Finding fun, simple and practical ways to play with letters is a must for us. I love including sensory play and fine motor skills into all our activities whether it’s crafts, bins or learning activities like this play dough alphabet tray. Play dough is an awesome tool for all of these! I simply provided different materials for him to explore letters all using play dough as a base.

Play Dough Creation Station from Melissa & Dough
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This play dough creation station is super easy to set up and provides so many different play possibilities!

Play Dough Snow Bots from Stir the Wonder
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Inspiration stuck while Caden and I were watching our favorite show, Transformers Rescue Bots! In one episode it snows and the Rescue Bots have fun playing in the snow and Blades a Rescue Bot builds a snow bot! That is when I thought Caden would enjoy building his own snow bot using play dough!

Shell Activities for Kids from Fantastic Fun and Learning
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…we set up an invitation to play with coconut scented play dough, shells, glass beads, and small pieces of drift wood.

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To see more play dough tray ideas, click on my board below Follow Momma Jo’s board Playdough Trays on Pinterest.

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