When parents are concerned about their child’s listening-learning-language development they often contact me to evaluate their child or to schedule a consultation. When asked, ”What are you observing that concerns you about you child?” most often they will respond, ”she has difficulty following directions.”
What is really happening when a child can’t follow more than a one-step direction? The difficulty may be with auditory sequential memory; difficulty holding onto the amount of information and keeping the steps in order. The consequences of this difficulty are many; learning games, following through with directions at home, and at school the child may be misdiagnosed with auditory attention problems. Luckily there are ways to work with your child to help them build their memory and to keep their information in the correct order.
- Learn and sing words to songs
- Cook or bake together and follow a recipe step by step
- Do craft projects that contain directions
- Link directions together. Make up silly directions and have the child follow 1 and then add 1. Your child now has to follow 2, then add a 3rd.
- Play dot to dot but give the directions orally.
For more ideas and a complete discussion about auditory sequential memory see my book: The Sound of Hope.
Most of all have fun!
Lois Kam Heymann
Director, Auditory Processing Center
Center for Hearing and Communication
P.S. I look forward to participating in Development Day at Paramus Schools in Paramus, New Jersey January 16th. I'll be discussing this and many other topics essential to listening and learning. If your school or organization is interested in learning more about how educators and parents can help children become better listeners, please contact me at (917) 305-7850 at lheymann@CHChearing.org.