Classroom accommodations for auditory processing disorder

(APD) makes it hard for students to process and make meaning of sounds. That can make it hard to learn — from focusing on what a teacher says to learning how to read.

Here are some examples of accommodations teachers can use to help with auditory processing disorder in the classroom.

Classroom seating, materials, and routines

  • Provide a quiet area for independent work.

  • Let the student sit near the teacher and away from auditory distractions, like doors and windows.

  • Check in frequently to make sure the student understands the work.

  • Provide an assistive listening device to make it easier to distinguish the teacher’s voice.

  • Give extra time for testing.

Giving instructions and assignments

  • Give step-by-step instructions, and have the student repeat them.

  • Use attention-getting phrases like “This is important to know because….”

  • Decide with the student on a nonverbal signal to show that a key point is being made.

  • Say directions, assignments, and schedules out loud, and rephrase as needed.

  • Repeat key information throughout the lesson, and rephrase as needed.

  • Use visual tools, images, and gestures to enhance and support spoken lessons.

  • Break down test or classwork instructions into short, written steps.

  • Highlight key words and ideas on worksheets.

  • Give written homework instructions.

  • Provide a list of homework assignments for the week (or day).

Introducing new concepts/lessons

  • Speak clearly and slowly when presenting new information.

  • Give material on a new concept to the student before it’s taught to the whole class (so the student can get familiar with it ahead of time).

  • Give a list of or highlight key vocabulary and concepts for upcoming lessons.

  • Give a short review or connection to a previous lesson before teaching something new.

  • Give the student an outline of the lesson.

  • Grade based on the student’s completion of the lesson goal. (For instance, don’t grade spelling errors if that’s not what the student was supposed to learn.)

What’s next?

Learn about assistive technology for auditory processing. And hear from a mom on what she wishes people knew about auditory processing disorder.


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