3. Auditory Processing Gate

A common myth about auditory processing is reflected in this statement: “My child has an auditory processing problem because he can’t remember three directions at once.” This is likely more of a focusing/attention issue. For example, if we would ask him to “go into the kitchen and get a candy bar, a glass of chocolate milk, and a dish of ice cream for yourself,” the child would likely remember these directions.

A child who is suffering with an auditory processing problem generally has trouble with reading. Common characteristics include these:

- Phonics sounds don’t stick, no matter how many games you have played
- Sight words are hard to memorize—even learning alphabet letter names can be hard
- Sounds out same word over and over in a story
- Can’t easily sequence sounds, like months of the year or skip counting
- Is a “word guesser”
- No phonetic pattern to spelling—doesn’t hear consonants, e.g., Thursday is Thesday

4. Focus/Attention Gate

This can be the most puzzling blocked learning gate to identify. A child may look like he has no memory, or a true learning disability, when what is really going on is that this child has to use too much battery energy to remain focused during the instruction or completion of the lesson. The child may look like he is “paying attention” to your lesson, giving you good eye contact; however, in his head, he is two doors down, playing with his friend or playing in the dinosaur village. Here are some characteristics of a child who has to use too much battery energy to remain focused:

- Inconsistency in performance from one day to another
- Needs to have someone sit with him to finish work
- Forgets previously learned work much of the time—seems to have a “memory” problem
- Can have impulsive behavior—easily getting upset when things go wrong
- Sensory processing problems (little things bother him a lot, like tags on shirts, loud noises, transitions, foods, etc.)

Be assured that you do not need to be an expert or professional to make learning easier for your child at home. In the upcoming columns for The Struggling Homeschooler, I will discuss each learning gate individually and show you the corrections that I developed as I taught these wonderful children in my special education classes. You will see that it is not hard to do. It just requires some tools, strategies, and techniques that you may not be familiar with right now.

Bottom line: Learning does not have to be so hard for your child. God has many wonderful answers for our children. He gives us insight and understanding into our children’s learning struggles when we ask Him! (2 Timothy 2:7)

Questions? Email Dianne short questions at: craft@ecentral.com.

Dianne Craft has a master’s degree in learning disabilities. She speaks widely at homeschool conventions across the country. Her books, Brain Integration Therapy Manual, Right Brain Phonics Program, and her DVDs, Understanding & Helping the Struggling Learner, Teaching the Right Brain Child, Smart Kids—Who Hate to Write, and The Biology of Behavior have helped hundreds of families remove learning blocks in their struggling children at home. Visit her website, www.diannecraft.org, for many articles on children and learning and to download her free Daily Lesson Plans for the Struggling Reader and Writer.

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Publication date: February 27, 2013