Classroom Strategies for Auditory Processing Disorder

Instructor: Elizabeth Hemmons

Beth has taught early childhood education, including students with special needs, for the past 11 years. She has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education.

Finding ways to help your students with auditory processing disorder can be challenging and frustrating. This lesson provides simple, practical strategies for communication, environment, and instruction for teachers with students with auditory processing disorder.

Understanding Auditory Processing Disorder

Imagine trying to learn in a classroom with a teacher who is giving directions that you find mixed up and confusing, or that you're only able to understand every other word that he or she is saying. You shut down after listening for only a minute. When you read, you have trouble sounding out the words. The passage takes you forever, and you have to read it at least three times before you can understand it.

This is how frustrating a classroom can feel to a student who suffers from auditory processing disorder. The National Coalition for Auditory Processing Disorders defines auditory processing disorder (APD) as 'a neurological defect that affects how the brain processes spoken language.' Since most instruction in classrooms is given verbally, school can be a big challenge for students who have APD. However, if one of your students has been identified with APD, there are strategies that you can use to help him or her be more successful in the classroom.


Students with APD may seem like they are not listening, or that they are disconnected from what is going on in the room. Communication with these students is key, and the way you communicate is even more important.

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