Auditory Processing Underlies Academic Performance

Logan’s Story

Improved listening skills increases academic and social success
Improved listening skills increases academic and social success


Unsolicited Testimonial of Middle School Success

“Thank you Mrs. Shook! You are truly blessed with the gift of wisdom and discernment in working with learning differenced children and their families. You have literally changed and directed lives. I wish you could see Logan now!”


“Once Logan moved on to Middle School (three years ago) the teachers were dumbfounded mid-year when I told them we had battled learning differences in Lower School and I wanted to see what they observed so we could keep on top of things! Their comments are that he is such a conscientious student and quite the hard worker. If only they really knew how those characteristics were developed! His grades are mostly A’s and he earns them independently! His favorite pastime is reading! All his peers and teachers know that Logan is the reader! He always has a book handy and loves to talk about them! He can read a book faster than I can and enjoys every minute of it! He has excelled at writing, although the boyhood patience of proofing and re-writing is still battled at times.”


Reading is Language/ Language Depends on Listening Skills

“You were discerning to work on the root causes of Logan’s academic struggles and were able to combine the right therapies to treat the whole of Logan and not just symptoms of learning differences. If only we could clone you now so everyone had your understanding!

~~ Immeasurably Thankful,~~ Logan’s Mom”


The Earlier Story: Reading Depends on Listening Skills

Logan was a bright six year-old boy who was failing reading, writing, and spelling in his private school kindergarten. The school recommended another well-known reading rehabilitation method, but the parents had a referral from a friend to see me. Logan had deficits in auditory-linguistic processing, phonemic awareness (sound-symbol correlation), short-term memory, auditory discrimination, and comprehension of instructions and short stories.


Auditory Processing Foundational to Phonemic Awareness

Logan used The Listening Program with air conduction headphones    to establish his perception of patterns of the sound environment laying a foundation for improving his phonemic awareness essential to reading decoding. He played listening games that directly addressed his areas of weakness. He learned to isolate specific sounds in words, blending sounds together, and segment words in sentences and sounds in words. .


Effective Listening Foundational to Reading Comprehension

Logan also learned components of problem solving such as identifying the problem, cause-and-effect relationships and deductive reasoning so that he could draw conclusions and make predictions about short stories. He also learned to visualize directions, math word problems, and word pictures from stories to increase his comprehension. He learned to write short stories that were age appropriate verbalizations which described objects and events. .


Oral Language Depends on Listening

I previously had worked with reading issues separately from auditory processing issues underlying language development for many years. I began noticing that combining these issues improved school performance in most children struggling academically. These children tested as having minor language delays in addition to auditory processing deficits with the manifesting symptom of poor academic achievement.



Sensory motor movement is foundational to enable sequencing symbolic patterns for reading and writing
Sensory motor movement is foundational to enable sequencing symbolic patterns for reading and writing

Oral Language Success Brings Academic Success Long Term

Logan’s developing his auditory and linguistic processing allowed more effective oral language skills to emerge as well as his written language. These continue to develop on their own as described by the letter which I recently received from Logan’s mother updating his progress.


Self Esteem Success

“Logan’s self-esteem and self-confidence is high. He is a typical and fun-loving teen of almost 14 years in every way! Enough time has passed now that the nightmare of homework tears and school frustrations seem dream-like. The countless hours of therapy sessions seem condensed to a short time frame! Neither of which was fathomable at the time we lived through all that hard work!  But the icing on the cake is that Logan is a healthy, fun loving teen who developed great character qualities from his history with learning differences! Thanks to you Jane!”


***Logan’s Story is a composite of several children I have seen using this model. The mother’s testimonial is word for word from a letter I received about her specific child’s improvement.***


Effective Listening to Improve Apraxia of Speech

Braden’s Story

Listening with movement and speech improved articulation
Listening with movement and speech improved articulation

Auditory Processing Impacts Oral-Motor Coordination

Braden had limited fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres, resulting in Childhood Verbal Apraxia and causing major disruptions in his ability to communicate verbally in spite of being a very bright child. Braden’s mom called me requesting I use the Interactive Metronome with her son to see if it would help his speech production.

Childhood Verbal Apraxia

Childhood verbal apraxia is a complicated neurological motor planning disorder disrupting the individual’s ability to form sounds in words and words in sentences fluently on command/ request. It may be present with other language learning problems or it may be the only presenting condition. It often is accompanied by overall body coordination problems. It usually requires oral motor exercises along with significantly more repetition sounds to create words with a much greater time required to develop verbal expression. Speech may always difficult to produce across the life span and other means of communication may need to be utilized by some individuals.

Auditory Processing Underlying Childhood Verbal Apraxia

While it is not easy to diagnose auditory processing deficits with individuals having verbal apraxia because of their distorted speech, sometimes I have been able to utilize pointing to pictures as a way of determining word discrimination in quiet versus noisy environments. Disruptions in auditory processing and discrimination are frequent and usually severe with individuals having this condition. I had always addressed the speech production issues separately from the language issues with individuals presenting childhood verbal apraxia, which is the traditional way of treating verbal apraxia. Then Braden came to me and my paradigm shifted to use a multiple sensory approach.


Interactive Metronome Improved Movement, Listening and Verbal Skills

Braden came to me as a twelve year boy with overall motor coordination issues as well as verbal apraxia, sensory integration dysfunction, visual perceptual disorder and attention deficit disorder. When his mother called me requesting I use the Interactive Metronome, I had only received certification about five months before and had only used it with about 5-6 people. I was unsure whether it would make any difference in his performance, but she begged me to allow him to try it based on some research that she had found about using Interactive Metronome for speech production.

Communication Worsened Before it Improved

Braden went through a two week therapy intensive (ten sessions in two weeks) in December using just Interactive Metronome.  Four days into his treatment program his already limited speech became more challenging. He could no longer speak in 3-4 word sentences, but only 1-2 word combinations. I requested his mother call his neurologist who insisted we continue the program as “it was making changes” and he was “only clapping his hands and tapping his feet. Nothing he was doing could be harming him.” Sensory integration therapists often will comment that “you frequently get disorganization before you get reorganization.” That was just before the weekend break. Three days later when Braden returned for his next session on Monday, not only was he speaking in longer sentences, but his speech production was clearer! He continued to make progress in speech production for the remaining five days. His parents decided to continue ongoing therapy after the winter break to see if progress would continue.


Interactive Metronome used to improve sequencing and timing of movement to sound which increased verbal skills
Interactive Metronome used to improve sequencing and timing of movement to sound which increased verbal skills

Additional Therapy Targeted Multiple Sensory Systems

Braden received two weekly sessions of speech therapy for the next nine months which included tongue and lip exercises along with other traditional speech therapy for verbal apraxia. He also participated in activities targeting breathing, balance, movement for brain activation, CranioSacral Therapy, and auditory processing with a phonemic awareness and auditory discrimination emphasis


Second Intensive Program Produced More Improvements

In July of the same year, Braden participated in another two week (ten sessions in two weeks) of intensive therapy, this time using both the Interactive Metronome and The Listening Program with bone conduction delivery. Additional improvements were seen in Braden’s sentence length and complexity as well as his pronouncing multiple syllable words with greater ease.

Improvements in Academic Performance and Speech

Not a novice to treatment, Braden had received occupational therapy and speech therapy at his private school for learning disabilities for several years; however, as he addressed his underlying auditory processing and executive function deficits he saw dramatic improvements in his academic performance, his daily life and maturity as well as his speech. His mother reported in May of that same year, just prior the second therapy intensive a list of changes she had noticed. This information was collected on a solicited checklist I use to document progress:

  • Increase in eye contact
  • More emotional
  • More animated
  • More responsible
  • More independent
  • Decrease in frustration
  • Increase in sense of humor
  • Less restless
  • Increase in physical coordination
  • Increase in sense of rhythm
  • Less confusion of left and right on self
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Increase in talking/ communication
  • Increase in vocabulary
  • Increase in phonological awareness
  • Increase in sentence structure
  • Increase initiating verbal participation
  • Increase in speaking quality
  • Increase in reading comprehension
  • Increase in ability to tell a story
  • Increase in on task performance


Improvements Seen in Numerous Areas

His mother noted in the comments section that Bradon’s language teacher at school “has started him on hard, more complex thinking stories. She didn’t know if he was ready, but to her surprise, he did great and was the best in the group.”

His mother further reported that he was able to do more complicated computer tasks at home and had been staying at home alone while his parents walk. He had always been too afraid to do that in the past. He had tried more new food lately as well. His mother also reported that his overall “level of understanding concepts has improved and he seems to have grown up in the past few months.”

Effective Listening Impacts Self Calming and Social Skills

Peter’s Story

Peter calmly playing while listening to TLP
Peter calmly playing while listening to TLP

Peter was a three-year-old whose mom was exhausted and frazzled by his constant jumping and banging into her. Peter had auditory processing difficulties resulting in poor night’s sleep, days filled with crying, whining aggressive behavior toward siblings and peers, difficulty playing or relating appropriately with toys, and difficulty exhibiting empathy toward those closest to him when they were hurt. His language was precocious, but his self-control and relationship skills were immature.

Mom’s Report after Ten Days of Intensive Listening Therapy

Her testimony says it all. “What a change two weeks of bone conduction has brought. Peter is happy and smiling. He cooperates, compromises, transitions well and obeys. No longer does he throw toys. He now plays appropriately with them. No longer does he hit his siblings and laugh; he now gives hugs and kisses. Before therapy, he shot around the house like a ball in a pin-ball machine. Now, he has purpose and direction. He plays, interacts, and converses in an orderly and appropriate manner. His favorite phrase is “Can I help you, Mommy?” and he really does do what I suggest. I would never have let the “old Peter” set the dinner table. We would have had water on the floor and forks stuck in the wall. Now this is fun Mommy/ Peter time. He takes direction, and seeks to please rather than taking delight in wreaking havoc. In addition to his beautiful daytime behavior, his sleeping has improved 100%. He goes to sleep without crying, stays asleep and wakes up happy”.

Effective Listening Impact on Self Regulation

Auditory processing is foundational to success and ease in so many areas of life. People who have mild to moderate difficulty understanding in challenging environments become inordinately tired, working hard to make sense of their world. Highly intelligent individuals with moderately severe to profound issues in auditory processing are inexplicably challenged in noisy environments. They are prone to depression, anxiety, and irritability in addition to having difficulty following multiple step directions and not completing work they easily can do in a quiet environment. They may avoid noisy environments unless they are creating the noise. They frequently are very controlling and manipulating to keep their environment as comfortable as possible. While ineffective listening may impair language development, it sometimes simply creates stress so the person, like Peter, is determined to be in control and have wild mood swings.


Effective Listening Problem/ Not a Parenting Problem

Peter’s mom was an experienced and skillful mother of four. In spite of using her best parenting skills, she had a child she couldn’t control and sadly couldn’t enjoy. As he entered his toddler years he became increasingly unhappy. He approached toys not as playthings but as objects to break, stomp on or throw. He became aggressive toward his siblings, then his friends at school. To sum it up in mom’s words, “much more was going wrong than right.”

Her conclusion following using The Listening Program with bone conduction equipment for two consecutive weeks was, “The end result of all this change is we are all enjoying Peter so much. We look forward to spending time with him instead of away from him. He is the fun, loving engaging child that we just knew he could be.”