Friday, June 14, 2013

Auditory Processing: Hearing is Learning or is It?

Do you ever wonder if your children are listening to you? Or, given a limited use of language, can children understand what is said to them? Are children actually able to absorb what they hear and turn it into meaningful learning?  As one of the broad abilities noted in the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory, auditory processing is defined as the ability to discriminate, recognize and comprehend aural information (Lynch & Warner, 2013).

While enjoying her snack, a 3-year-old sings, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” She proceeds to clap her hands, then sings, “If you're happy and you know it stomp your feet.” A friend joins in and adds a rhyme, “Stomp your feet, stomp your feet and eat.”

Children's language development hinges on their ability to hear, discriminate and interpret the sounds of their language.  Parents and teachers can promote infant development of auditory processing by singing songs, chanting nursery rhymes and playing games like pat-a-cake and peekaboo.  When adults recognize and repeat sounds, they reinforce a child’s ability to differentiate between language sounds and form memories for sound patterns.  Auditory processing is an important ability for beginning reading and development of phonics skills (Heath & Hogben, 2004).

Activities that can enhance auditory processing are:
-Playing listening games
-Teaching nursery rhymes and songs
-Playing musical games
-Making up rhyming songs using a child’s name or other words

Information contained in this blog adapted from:  Lynch, Sharon A. and Warner, L. 2013. “How Adults Foster Young Children’s Intellectual Development.”  Young Children, Vol. 68, No. 2, 86-91. Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Heath, S. & Hogben, J., 2004.  “Cost-Effective Prediction of Reading Difficulties.”  Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research 47 (4): 751-65.

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