Many children with sensory processing disorder also have trouble with auditory processing. Here are some activities you can do with a child to teach their ears how to properly listen and process what they hear.
1) Play with, listen to, and identify different musical instruments.
2) Listen to silence. After observing silence, you can identify the different sounds you hear that interrupt the quiet, such as a car speeding by, a helicopter, banging or hammering from afar, people outside talking, music playing, etc.
3) Listen to a white noise machine with different sounds of nature.
4) Experiment with your voices, notice the difference between a whisper and a shout, and the levels in between. (I’ve been doing this with MeMe for years. We have voice levels 1-5, 5 being shouting and 1 being whispering, and when he isn’t aware of his voice level, I request he use a specific level, depending on his activity, how many people are in the room, and okay, the intensity of my everyday headaches.)
5) Our cd player has volume buttons that also have numbered levels from 0-8. Each numbered level actually has an additional 3 levels each. Experimenting with the volume buttons is great listening and differentiating practice.
6) Fill small empty plastic containers with beans, marbles, sand, or stones. Take turns shaking them and differentiating between the sounds.
7) Play games that use listening and memory skills, such as “I’m packing a suitcase and inside I’m putting _____________.” The first player says an item that starts with the letter A, the next player uses the letter B, and so on, in order of the alphabet. Each player must remember all the items that were chosen so far to be “packed in the suitcase” in the correct order, and include them in his completion of the sentence “I’m packing a suitcase and inside I’m putting _______________” when he takes his turn. If a player forgets or misses an item, he’s out, and the last player to be in the game wins.
8 ) Play verbal games with words: Choose a letter and take turns saying words which begin with it. Or set a timer for 60 seconds, and see who can come up with the most words that start with that letter.
9) Choose a word and see how many rhyming words you can come up with. Rhyming cards are great for this (I bought a pack in Target in their $1 section).