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sound awareness As a former Kindergarten teacher and an Audiologist who taught listening to students in the regular classroom, I can tell you – the number one issue teachers have with students is their ability to listen. For the child with various isms, this issue may be compounded many times over.  Many children in the classroom setting may be struggling with a basic listening skill: sound awareness.

Very often the “listening” issue is the child’s difficulty with how they use and process sound information.  I often differentiate between hearing and sound processing.

Auditory processing is a function of the ear and brain.

Sound processing is a function of the whole body.

Auditory processing develops more easily once sound processing skills are adequately established. Listening skills are also easier to develop once sound and then auditory processing skills are clearer to the listener.

Start at the Foundation

The child with various isms often needs to start with the basics. Something as simple as – learning sound differences – can play an important role in the child’s ability to learn language.

The Davis Model of Sound Intervention® incorporates a developmental flow chart for the optimal administration of any sound-based therapy.  The developmental flow chart starts at the foundation and then builds on the developmental needs of the body to process sound.

Sound-Based Therapies

Whether you have used sound-based therapy in an optimal order or haven’t had the opportunity yet to do so, the activities below may be helpful. It is important to know that when developing listening skills, the foundational basics flow as follows:

sound awareness  >>  sound localization  >>  sound discrimination  >>  sound comprehension  

All too often, well intentioned individuals start with discrimination or comprehension ignoring awareness and localization.   However, for best results, these basics are necessary and should be worked on in that specific order.

Some individuals may feel these foundational skills are too basic.  However,  sound awareness followed by sound localization provide the underlying foundational skills needed for the future development of language.  So, when starting out to develop a child’s listening skills, keep it simple!!

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Activities to Develop Sound Awareness

Activities to develop sound awareness help increase the child’s everyday awareness of the environmental sounds surrounding them.

Tune in when Children Tune Out

In my experience, a child who seems to “tune out” has a sound hypersensitivity of some form.  If your child tunes out, actively talk to your child about the sounds around him.  Repeat this activity often.  For example,

“I hear the ball bouncing.

Do you hear the ball bouncing?

Let’s bounce the ball together.

I hear the bounce as you dropped the ball, etc.”

Keep talking in detail about the sound. You are providing the child with language cues and a reference to the sound cue.

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Hyperacusis: Bionic Hearing?

Get Musical to Develop Sound Awareness

Singing and clapping, singing and tapping, or singing with a rhythm to a simple song is very good for developing sound awareness.  Musical activities such as these are referencing a part of the brain that is musical, while pulling in the linguistic part of the brain.

Sing something as simple as “I__bounce__the ball. I__bounce__the ball. Let’s__bounce__the ball__ to__gether.” in a sing song pattern.  In doing this activity, you bring attention to the ball sound, the vocabulary, and the rhythm pattern.

Explore More >> Get Your Child Singing – It’s Therapeutic

Feel the Sound to Develop Sound Awareness

Hold the child’s hand to your face and make different simple sounds or speech sounds.  The child will feel the sound through their bone structure.  When feeling a sound, they will often process the sound faster, thereby becoming aware of the sound for better processing.

These simple activities can build upon a child’s foundational skills to help children sharpen the skill of sound awareness.  By learning sound differences, children will be able to build upon that skill and move in the direction of learning language.