Auditory Extraction – Getting the Key Message

Auditory Extraction – Getting the Key Message

Charlie Brown TeacherI opened this series with an overview discussion about the Multi-System approach to Auditory Processing Disorders.  According to this system-integrated model developed by this professional, the six main systems involved in auditory processing are:

1. The cognitive system
2. The executive functioning system
3. The auditory system
4. The language system
5. The behavioral and emotional systems
6. The sensory system

Confounding Variables in the Evaluation of Auditory Processing is the next topic in this series due to the importance of preventing a misdiagnosis. I then moved on to categories of auditory processing and discussed Auditory Awareness, Discrimination and Hypersensitivity in the following publications:

Auditory Awareness Isms are Sensory Based
Auditory Discrimination – What is that Sound?
Auditory Hypersensitivity – An Emotional Response

Auditory Extraction

The next category of auditory processing involves what this professional calls auditory extraction. Extraction involves identifying the key, important features of auditory messages that carry the meaning of the message. At the speech sound or phonemic level, the work is using the words, real and nonsense, and then the phonemes that were previously discussed. The phonemic or phonological extraction level is the auditory discrimination level of speech.

Lexical or Linguistic Extraction

The second factor is the auditory lexical or linguistic extraction level. This involves identifying key words that carry the meaning of the whole message. For work in this area, activities involving following directions are useful.

For example, if I said to you (and you are sitting), “Stand – walk – door – knock – three,” would you not stand up out of your seat, walk over to the door and knock three times on the door? You have taken the key words and put them together to form the whole message. This involves the auditory system, the language system, the cognitive system, and the executive functioning system.

Temporal Extraction

Temporal extraction is the third level of auditory extraction. It involves two factors.  One is the speed at which you process what you hear
and the other is the inherent changes in the timing and rhythm of verbal messages that change the meaning of the message.

As for speed, two focuses are needed. One is how fast you speak to the child, so slow down initially, then work to have the child able to demonstrate comprehension of verbal messages presented at faster than normal rates of speaking. The other is the timing between words. Consider the following.

Read these four words and think of what they mean: Look – Out – The – Door!

OK, you might say, “you just asked me to open the door to see what’s on the other side.”

But, if I paused between “Out” and “The,” would I not have said, “Don’t go near the door or you’ll get hurt?”

That is, I would have said, “Look out, the door.” For this area, we are definitely involving the auditory system as well as the emotional system and cognitive system.

Activity – “Charlie Brown’s Teacher”

One activity I like to use for this I call “Charlie Brown’s Teacher,” and I give all rights to the name to the Charles Schultz group. If you remember, Charlie Brown’s teachers never say words, they only speak with the rhythm of the message.

One activity I like to do with children is to ask them how is the person feeling when that person says …

…and then I say something (a word, series of words, sentence) only as if I were Charlie Brown’s teacher.

The change in rhythm changes the emotional content of the message and the child has to respond to this change and identify the emotional feeling of the speaker.


Lucker, J.R. (2008). What are auditory processing disorders? In, H. Edell, J.R. Lucker, & L.
Alderman. Don’t You Get It? Living With Auditory Learning Disabilities. Wood Dale, IL.: Stoelting Co.

Lucker, J.R. (2013). Auditory hypersensitivity in children with autism spectrum disorder. Focus On Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 20 (10), 1-8.

Lucker, J.R., Doman, A. (2012). Auditory hypersensitivity in children. Autism Science Digest, 4.