Classroom Strategies for APD

• Make sure the class is quiet before you begin speaking.

• Obtain the child’s attention before you speak to them either as an individual or to the class.  Develop a consistent visual cue to alert the child to the fact that important information is coming, e.g. teacher raises hand, turns classroom lights off/on.  Private cues between child and teacher include tapping desk or child on shoulder.

• Speak clearly with a slower rate of speech and check information has been understood, children can often repeat a message back but have no comprehension of what it entailed.

• Re-phrase what has been misunderstood rather than repeating information.

• Seat child at front of class with a clear view of the board used to provide written information.

• Avoid the child sitting near a door or window where sounds from outside may be distracting.  Fans and heaters may also be distracting.

• Allow the child to move to a quiet area for independent work or silent reading.

• Always provide written information on the board when speaking and provide additional written instruction on paper for the child to refer to.

• Use concrete or pictorial representations of maths concepts.

• Try to explain the purpose of the task; many children with APD are visual spatial learners who respond better to knowing the whole concept.

• Be precise with instructions and present instructions in small easy steps.

• Make sure the child understands what they have to do, they may not be immediately aware they have not understood something that has just been explained.

• Write key vocabulary on board before teaching new material.  Give concrete, written and pictorial information and demonstrations of new material.

• Find and use the child’s strengths to convey information.

• Do not give homework quickly at the end of class when others are packing their schoolbags and leaving.  Provide homeworks in written form.

• Write information/instructions on the board.  Another child could be a “buddy” to ensure the child is aware of these.

• Allow child a longer time to respond to questions.

• Ensure a quiet working environment.

• Children with APD need frequent breaks as it takes more effort for them to pay attention and process information and so they will tire more easily.

• A home/school book or homework timetable allows parents to help the child understand what they have to do and means that parents and teacher can share information on learning styles and coping strategies.  Parents can also pre-tutor by familiarising children with new vocabulary and concepts to be covered in class if they are made aware of these.

• Group conversations and debates will be difficult for a child with APD.  Use appropriate speaker/listener manners. One person talks, everyone else listens quietly.

• APD learners prefer to follow a project through from start to finish because any interruption or break may mean they have to restart from the beginning.

• Children with APD  may have difficulty processing the meaning of written problems and therefore have difficulty in processing an answer. 

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