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August 1, 2014 | 5th Av 5774

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutoring and Students with Auditory Processing Difficulties

Dear Shana,

I tutor students in chanting and reading their b’nai mitzvah portions, and I have some questions about students with auditory processing problems. I correct a student's mistake, and then the student repeats the correction aloud. If the pronunciation of a word is particularly difficult, I have the student repeat the correction a few times. Is this process of any help for a student with auditory processing problems? Is there a better way to make corrections for these students? Also, since the use of the tape makes use of an oral modality, is there a better way to help these students use the tape?

You don't specify what type of auditory processing problems this child has, but there are a few general principles that apply. First, speak slowly! Children who have difficulty with the rate in which auditory information is processed can get overwhelmed and lost with rapid auditory input. Secondly, use visual cues as much as possible. When you correct a verbal error, pair the auditory correction with a visual cue, such as the word itself. Highlight frequently missed words to call the child's attention to it. Using a multi-sensory approach can be helpful as well. Have the child write or trace the difficult words. You can even have him make the word out of clay or write it with her finger in a tray of sand, saying the word aloud as she writes.

There is a piece of older technology that is very effective for students with auditory processing issues called a Language Master. It is like a tape recorder, but the words are written on cards with a tape strip along the bottom. The teacher writes the word or verse to be practiced on the card, and records the auditory input directly onto the card. The student can then run the card through the machine, which provides simultaneous auditory and visual input. Check out www.language-master.co.uk/, or contact Woodlake Technologies at woodlaketechnologies.com to see if they might be able to get one for you. There are also trope programs available on the computer that would be useful. Check out Davka.com for titles.

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