Hear­ing is­sues in class

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PU¯RONGORONGO - By JO MOIR

A lead­ing au­di­ol­o­gist says chil­dren are be­ing wrongly la­belled as dis­rup­tive and badly be­haved be­cause they can’t hear in­struc­tions in the mod­ern class­room.

Wellington au­di­ol­o­gist Richard Bishop spe­cialises in work­ing with chil­dren with au­di­tory pro­cess­ing disorder (APD) and says mod­ern flex­i­ble class­room spa­ces are ‘‘hos­tile au­di­tory en­vi­ron­ments’’ for some stu­dents.

While Bishop says col­lab­o­ra­tive teach­ing spa­ces where dozens of chil­dren and sev­eral teach­ers all work to­gether in one space have their ad­van­tages, they are poor lis­ten­ing en­vi­ron­ments.

APD suf­fer­ers have dif­fi­culty lis­ten­ing but don’t have a prob­lem with hear­ing. In­stead their brain has dif­fi­culty ex­tract­ing in­for­ma­tion from sound.

Bishop says it is be­lieved the disorder could af­fect up to 10 per cent of chil­dren, with boys af­fected at twice the rate of girls, but that largely re­ferred to clin­i­cal cases and in his opin­ion un­der­es­ti­mated the prob­lem.

‘‘When I grew up pri­mary schools were very dif­fer­ent and it was a case of chil­dren sit­ting up and shut­ting up.

‘‘It wasn’t dif­fi­cult to lis­ten in that en­vi­ron­ment.’’

Chil­dren with APD hear ev­ery sound at the same vol­ume, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to de­ci­pher in­struc­tions in the class­room.

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