What is auditory processing disorder?
Auditory processing is a language processing disorder in which a child has significant trouble processing sounds, particularly with the sounds associated with speech. It is a very common learning disability and affects approximately 5% of school-age children.
What is Orton-Gillingham?
The Orton-Gillingham approach was developed by Dr. Samuel T. Orton and Dr. Anna Gillingham in the 1930s. At Orton-Gillingham, reading is taught sequentially from single letters and symbols to one-syllable words and then to words. longer. Multisensory approaches are emphasized at all times, and each step of instruction incorporates auditory, visual, and kinesthetic channels. Writing and letter formation are taught systematically, one letter at a time, and each lesson includes an emphasis on both the auditory and visual aspects of letters and words. Orton-Gillingham includes teaching visual strategies for irregular word recognition and also provides explicit and systematic instruction in vocabulary development and reading comprehension.
How does using an Orton-Gillingham reading / spelling program help a child with auditory processing disorder?
Simultaneous multisensory instruction: Children with auditory processing impairments who use all of their senses when learning (visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic) are better able to store and retrieve information. The child with APD can see the letter B, say its name and sound, and write it in the air at the same time.
Intensive Instruction: Reading instruction for children with auditory processing should be much more intense and offer much more practice than for regular readers.
Direct and Explicit Instruction: Children with APD need to be taught directly and explicitly each and every phoneme (sound) of the English language. They should be taught one spelling rule at a time and practiced until they are stable in both reading and spelling, before introducing a new rule.
Systematic and Cumulative: Orton-Gillingham starts from scratch and creates a solid foundation with no holes. It is taught by presenting one rule at a time and practicing it until the child can automatically and fluently apply that rule in both reading and spelling. Previously learned material is constantly repeated with each new lesson, and students advance their reading and spelling without interruption.
Children with auditory processing disorder need more structure, repetition, and differentiation in their reading instruction. They need to learn the basic sounds of language and the letters that make them up, starting at the beginning and progressing in a gradual process step by step. This must be delivered in a systematic, sequential and cumulative approach. For all of this to “stick,” children will need to do it using their eyes, ears, voice, and hands.