If your preschool child has difficulty following directions at home, this can be frustrating for both him and you! You think he seems to understand the individual words, but then he can’t follow through to be able to carry out your verbal instructions.
Some parents automatically assume that this is a behavior issue, but often it’s not. Auditory processing disorders make it very difficult for a child to be able to fully understand, process, and then DO what you’ve asked him to do.
The purpose of this article is not to explain auditory processing disorders, but rather give you ideas of how you can work to improve your child’s ability to understand and process directions at home.
As always, since I’m a pediatric SLP, I target these skills in play. Here are a few of my favorite ideas -
Use a child’s strengths or interests to develop “games” that will keep him with you long enough to learn how to listen, understand and follow-through. If he likes colors, set up a game so that he has to listen to what color of some object you’ll tell him to “get” and then “do” something with to complete the task. If he loves animals, set up a zoo game and give him different directions for various animals to do at the zoo. If his passion is his prized set of Cars vehicles, have him “do” different things you suggest with Lightning McQueen and all the other ones (but you’ll have to learn the names first!)
Get it? Take what he loves and then figure out a way to weasel in “therapy” with him during play.
If you’re the “need to HEAR it to understand it” kind of person, listen to episode #21 of my podcast Teach Me To Talk with Laura and Kate. It’s called Let’s Play! If you can’t take our banter about toys for the full hour, forward on toward the end when I’m talking about how I use puzzles in sessions with children who need work on this.
If you’re the “need to SEE it to understand it” kind of person, take a look at the last video clip in the article “Best DVD for Receptive Language Therapy at Home.” If it’s not still posted a few articles below this one on the home page, then look for it in the DVD category.
If you’re the “need to see it and DIGEST it to understand it” kind of person, get the DVD Teach Me To Listen and Obey 2! You’ll see this clip plus others AND get to hear an explanation of the theory behind these activites and difficulties as well (but in plain English so you’ll be able to understand and apply it!).
Whatever your style - I hope these ideas will help you to work on these skills during play at home. Language processing is critical to future academic success. It’s that important!