Use Auditory Closure to Build Listening and Talking Skills
Auditory closure is a fun way to help your child to build their listening and talking skills. Auditory closure is a commonly-used rehabilitation method, and is a great strategy to try for children who have got “stuck” in the phase of imitating what adults say.
So what is auditory closure? It is where you as the parent say the first part of a message, then pause, and encourage your child to say the second part to finish the sentence. For example, you place a toy car on the bench in front of your child ready to “drive” it. You say “1, 2, 3…” and your child says “Go!” You can use auditory closure in lots of fun ways during the day to encourage your child to listen and talk.
Here are some ways you can introduce auditory closure to your child at home:
- Sing a familiar song, for example “Twinkle, twinkle, little star!” Sing the song together first to make sure your child knows all the words. Then begin singing the song and pause half way through one of the lines. Look at your child expectantly and encourage your child to finish the song line. It may take time for your child to learn what you want from them. To help with this, give your child a model of what to do by first practicing this new activity with a sibling or partner who can finish the song line.
- Add an action that will happen when your child completes the sentence. For example, when pushing your child on a swing, give them a chance to hear the phrase you are going to use such as “Ready, steady, go” for the push pull motion. Once you are confident they understand the interaction, pull the seat back and say “Ready, Steady…”, then hold them still. Wait for them to say “Go!” As soon as they say the word, or a sound that is similar, let them go. Doing something fun like this encourages them to try saying the word again. You can also use this strategy, for going down a slide, or even when starting a drive in the car together!
- Build lists of things. If you are about to start a craft project together, talk about the items you will need, such as paper, scissors and glue. When you take out each item, forget to pull out one of the items and prompt your child: “We need paper, scissors and…” You can use this method for setting the table, taking out clothes to get dressed, or when making food—for example a sandwich.
- Use plenty of everyday phrases. Some things come in pairs such as fish and chips, salt and pepper, day and night. Read books and do activities to teach these paired items to your child, and then encourage them to complete the phrase when talking about them.
This post was written by Trudy Smith, a Rehabilitation Specialist at MED-EL Headquarters.
Like this post on auditory closure? Find out how you can use fingerplay, rhymes and songs to teach language to your child!
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