Helping Your Child Become A Better Listener: Teleclass Re-cap

In this teleclass with expert Lois Kam Heymann, we discussed the importance of listening skills in every child’s development and the steps we can take to help children become better listeners for academic and social success. The issues addressed apply to children of all ages who have typical (or normal) hearing, hearing loss or an auditory processing disorder. For those of you who missed it, you can hear the taped teleclass here.

Here is more information on the listening apps mentioned in the teleclass:

We also discussed many games that parents can play with their children to help foster better listening. Below are just a few (originally posted on Lois Kam Heymann’s blog).

Listening Games You Can Play With Your Kids

June 21st, 2012 | Posted in Auditory Processing Disorder, Listening Skills, Speech and Language Development l

Learning is an auditory event that is dependent on a child’s capacity to listen well. That capacity needs to be at peak when a child enters school, not just in the process of forming. Cultivating the ability to listen to instructions and follow directions that are required in school takes years of practice, but there are lots of fun and effective games and exercises to help your children play with words and sounds and learn how to listen.

Listening games are especially helpful for children with an Auditory Processing Disorder. These simple activities do not cost anything and they can be done virtually anywhere–at home, in the car, at the grocery store or waiting in a doctor’s office.  Games can be used individually target an area that is weak in a child’s listening skill set or varied to strengthen the entire developmental range of a child’s auditory skills. They are generally appropriate for two, three and four year olds (though some 18-month-olds will be able to play some of them) and specifically target listening skills.

Follow the musical leader: Sing or hum part of a song that your child knows and ask them to repeat it.

Bedtime review: As your child gets ready for bed, ask them to recount what they did that day. Can your child recall the events sequentially?

Show Me: This game helps a child follow directions, listen and do.

At an early age you must say and do each action. Later you can say and do it together.

“Show me how you touch your nose”

“Show me up on tippy toes”

“Show me how you bend your knees”

“Show me how you buzz like bees”

Make them up as you go; they don’t even have to rhyme:

“Show me how you put your hands on hips”

After you play a few times and your child gets a little older, you may not have to demonstrate and can just give the verbal direction.  A variation is to make up “silly” directions: “Show me how you put your ear to the floor.” Remember – kids like “silly.”

Going on a Sound Walk:  Take a walk outside and listen for the sounds around you. What sounds to listen for? How about:

  •     People talking
  •     Horns beeping
  •     Wind blowing
  •     Your footsteps (in leaves, in snow)
  •     Dogs barking
  •     Sirens

Talk about the sounds and imitate them just for fun.  This same activity can be played in the house.

Listening Farmyard Fun:  Use toy farm animal figures and say the sounds each one makes. Now ask your child to close their eyes, make an animal sound, and when your child opens their eyes, ask them to show you which animal she or he heard.

Try three other animals. Then turn the game around and have your child make the sound and you pick the animal.

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Lois Kam Heymann of the Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC) is a speech-language pathologist with over 30 years of experience working with people of all ages who are deaf and hard of hearing as well as children with listening, learning and auditory challenges. Heymann is the author of the book The Sound of Hope. Through the use of innovative therapeutic techniques, Heymann and her team of uniquely skilled speech-language pathologists help infants, children and adults achieve their full communication potential.

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