Auditory Skills Program Helps Kids Succeed in School

May 13, 2009

A child’s success in the classroom hinges on many factors, including having good listening and organizational skills. For children with an auditory processing disorder (APD), these skills do not always come easy.

To help children with an APD succeed in the classroom, the UT Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders created SKILL (Strategic Knowledge in Listening and Learning). SKILL is a new six-week program that helps school-age children become better listeners and more organized students.

Children who have an auditory processing disorder have normal hearing, but they have difficulties in how their brains process auditory information. This can often lead to poor classroom performance.

“These kids have trouble filtering what information is important for them to remember,” said Lori Cochran, speech-language pathologist. “If a teacher says, ‘Let’s all get our backpacks from our lockers and line up to go on the field trip,’ a child may try to remember every single word when all he really needs to comprehend is, ‘Get backpack, line up.’ ”

In addition to helping children identify key words and ideas for increased understanding, the program focuses on:

  • Organizing time and belongings for increased efficiency.
  • Listening and following directions.
  • Self-advocacy skills.

“We’ve heard a lot from parents that rooms are a mess, backpacks are full of papers, homework gets lost and books are forgotten at school,” said Christina Molloy, speech-language pathologist. “In the SKILL program, we’ll go over some basic organizational strategies and help the children decide what works and how they can easily implement these changes.”

Parental involvement is also an important part of the program.

“Parents will receive a weekly newsletter that explains what their child learned in class and the skills that need to be practiced at home,” said Berkley Berry, speech-language pathologist.

Although the program was created to address the needs of children with an APD, children without an APD who also struggle with similar issues are encouraged to attend.

The program begins June 8. Details are available at the Callier Center Web site.


Media Contact: Debra Brown, UT Dallas, (214) 905-3049, debra@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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