Monday, 25 Oct 2004

MEDIA RELEASE For release Monday 25 October 2004 Literacy, behaviour and auditory processing Just one hour of professional development training for teachers in communicating with children with auditory processing difficulties can have ësignificant positive effectsí on their literacy achievement progress and attentive behaviours, according to Drs Kathy and Ken Rowe, and audiologist collaborator Jan Pollard. Childrenís auditory processing (AP) capacity (i.e., the ability to hold, sequence and process accurately what is heard) has been linked strongly to their initial and subsequent literacy achievements, as well as to their attentive behaviours in the classroom. Dr Kathy Rowe, a consultant physician in the Department of General Medicine at Melbourneís Royal Childrenís Hospital, stressed that AP difficulties were functional, developmental difficulties rather than a diagnosis of hearing impairment and/or central auditory processing. Speaking today in Adelaide at Research Conference 2004 presented by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), Drs Kathy and Ken Rowe presented findings from an ongoing study into the prevalence of auditory processing difficulties among children and adolescents, and the positive impact on studentsí literacy progress and attentive behaviours when appropriate classroom management strategies for auditory processing difficulties are used. Evidence from more than 10,000 children indicates that approximately 20 per cent of children in each of the age groups 5-6, 6-7, 7-8, 8-9 and 9-10 years are unable to accurately process sentence lengths of 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 words, respectively. ìHowever, children with auditory processing difficulties have minimal difficulties learning if material is presented in appropriate waysî, Drs Rowe said. The study has found that students of teachers who had undertaken a one-hour professional development program presented by an experienced professional from the Audiology Department at Melbourneís Royal Childrenís Hospital had lead to ìsignificant improvements in both literacy achievement and behaviour.î The professional development program raised teachersí awareness of the auditory capacity of students and provided practical intervention strategies for use in the classroom. Teachers were instructed in ways to better communicate verbal instructions to students such as: speaking slowly, ëchunking informationí, pausing between sentences, maintaining eye contact, and waiting for compliance. ìThese simple techniques have strong positive impacts on children with auditory processing difficulties, and lead to fewer learning and behavioural problems,î Drs Kathy and Ken Rowe said. Teacher training and in-service professional development in this area is vital, since the research evidence shows that such training has the effect of ìbuilding fences at the top of the ëcliffíî by reducing the need for ìbelated and costly ëambulance servicesí at the bottomî. The full text of the Roweís Research Conference 2004 paper is available in PDF format at: http://www.acer.edu.au/research/programs/learningprocess.html. ****************ENDS*************