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So You’re Thinking About Auditory Training Therapy?

Controversial Therapies - Auditory Training TherapyThere are some individuals who have receptive and expressive language difficulties that impact their learning and behavior. As young children, they struggle to “hear” the subtle differences between sounds in words and as they get older, they have trouble listening and understanding when information, and especially new ideas, are presented quickly and out of context. These individuals are often said to have an auditory processing disorder (or central auditory processing disorder), and just like those with learning disabilities (LD) and ADHD, they may experience serious challenges such as:

  • Trouble learning in the presence of background noise
  • Mental fatigue due to the demands of listening in class while trying to remember and take notes
  • Problems with reading and spelling
  • Weaknesses with phonics and speech sound discrimination
  • Poor auditory attention and memory
  • Needing to have verbal information repeated
  • Difficulty with selecting vocabulary (finding “just the right word”)
  • Delays in response to verbal requests and in following verbal instructions

Auditory and Linguistic Processing ProgramsThe Scientific Learning Corporation has developed and refined a program called Fast ForWord that engages users in games and activities to address features of language processing disorders. The underlying premise of this approach is that with guided practice, auditory processing (leading to improved language skills) can be made more efficient and children can be helped to become better at thinking about what they hear and using that information to follow directions and complete learning tasks. Because many individuals with auditory processing disorders have trouble focusing and sustaining attention in verbally charged situations (of which school is definitely one!) they may be seen (and even diagnosed) as having ADHD.

While this program is grounded in science that is well regarded by many in the LD community, it has limited data to suggest if and how it can be helpful to students with LD. It is encouraging that the company is committed to the careful collection of data about the effectiveness of treatments with different populations, particularly with young children and with individuals who present with autism spectrum disorders.

The bottom line on programs that focus on building auditory and linguistic skills:

  • The best available research suggests that young children in K-grade 3 are most likely to benefit from program activities that target fundamental sub-skills to support early reading
  • Visit the program’s website to learn more about the activities, the costs, and the time commitment for training.
  • Ask for independent guidance from qualified professionals to help you decide whether this is a good fit for your child.

controversial-therapies - cure for ld?
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