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By: Mary Jo Oresti, MA
Part 1 
As a background to understanding the process of hearing, we could simply recall sound experiences and recall their effect. How well did we hear it?  How did we meet the sound?  What was evoked?  Like all sensory experiences we can see the possibility for a three fold relationship:  a physical acuity, a will filled reaching out to it, and a feeling for it in our inner experience.  Listening is a social act, and challenging for many people because of, for instance,  attention difficulties.

When working with children this three fold approach is a good basis for understanding how to incorporate a sensitivity/awareness of the hearing process. But how can we now go further to understand it?  Dr. Steiner, in Balance in Teaching, points us that “it is a matter of understanding these processes right down into their corporeality. (body reality)

In Balance in Teaching, he describes where perception occurs in the body, in the corporeality.   In the limbs sound is first perceived.  In the nerves and sight is  first perceived.  They both are understood through the activity of the rhythmic system.  Then memory for sounds lives on in the NSS and memory for sight lives on in the metabolic limb.  

Comprehension has a close relationship with our feeling life.- our middle system.  Think of how you need to feel the truth in order to really understand it.  But also we need to feel a harmony in the rhythmic system in order to have a relationship to understanding.  One well researched aspect of  learning is that we are dependent on how stable and fully functioning our breathing and heartbeat are.  The vegal nerve, which runs through these systems is effected by stress and triggers limbic rather than cortical responses when there is pressure and stress.

So we could say that to begin with we need a degree of harmony(feeling) and calm. Also, obviously we need a clearly articulated sensory perception (sensory).   These are the jobs of our presence and our commitment to building a creative, peaceful space.  

Thirdly the listener needs to be engaged (will)  and to reach out, so to speak, with their organ of hearing and be engaged in wanting to hear what is said or made.  Noise, sound, music, language are all available in the environment as perceptible phenomena. (There is also the possibility that they “hear” the vibrations of other signals)

Part 2   
Humming and mumbling which usually means that the as child auditory/field sensitivity.  Holding the  hands to the ears also indicates sensitivity. Raising eyebrows when listening indicates that the child is  which trying to make the ear drum more taut is a sign of trauma and stress. Poor phoneme awareness, difficulty with directions, attending to all sounds equally and poor memory f or stories are all signs of  auditory and inner picturing challenges.  

Sing a short  greeting to the child.  The  child sings back in the same  tune.

Sequence Games  - My Aunt Went to the Attic.   

Pick a Trick.  A favorite game. Give three, four or five directions slowly, but all at once. For example:  Stand on your chair, bring me the blue pencil, write your initials in the air.  Then ask the child to do only one-   “ Do the third one”.   Let them give you directions too – this eliminates the motor element for them and so more deeply connects the movement to an inner picture – necessary for auditory processing.      

Writing on back. For connecting sound/symbol relationships in reading. .  Say the sound as you “write” the letter on the child's back, using two or three fingers.  Be careful to form the letter correctly ( top to bottom).  Child can “write”  the phoneme on paper or in a sand tray. She says the sound as she scribes  it in the sand.

Sequence songs. Sing sequence songs such as “There Was a Little Tree”

Sequencing marbles with verbal instructions.   Materials:  Pairs of different colored marbles, 2 felt pieces for laying them on and one to c over the sample.   The child puts the marbles in the order   that the teacher or parent says.    “Blue, red, green , cats eye, white”. The teacher  also make this sequence but covers it up till the child is finished.  

Variation:  the child gives a sequence to the teacher.  
Variation: Use pairs of different objects: sea shells, paper clips, etc.

Resources: Lindamood Bell technique;  Dr. Steiner:  Faculty Meetings Volume 1,  Modern Art of Education (GA 307) 16.8.23, Balance in Teaching;  personal research; Listening  Space Therapy – Camphill;   The Listening Ear, Audrey McAllen;  Who Speaks, Pusch;  A Whole New Mind,  Daniel Pink.

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