Auditory Sandwich

Double chocolately goodness with cream in the middle is your inspiration for today's easiest listening and spoken language strategy:

the auditory sandwich

The auditory sandwich is one of the strategies you use to develop a child's language and auditory skills.

Keep in mind that auditory and language development is really brain or neural development. It's synaptic connections being made and neural pathways being forged and reinforced. This doesn't happen with periodic training and occasional reinforcement.

Neural development needs consistency and numerous exposures (opportunities for learning) which is why you're learning this strategy 🙂 I bet you're also a proponent of language and auditory development so I think you're gonna like what we're about to learn.

The brain needs to be developed with strategies that work and are used consistently. Click To Tweet

How to Use the Auditory Sandwich

You use the auditory sandwich strategy to teach new words and concepts to your child. It's super simple and incredibly straightforward. All it is is "Hear It, See It, & Hear It Again."

  1. Hear It
    1. Present something using auditory first. For this, you just say the word without any visual cues. Don't use visual hints like pointing and gesturing.
    2. This requires your child to truly be listening.
    3. Example: "That's a dog." (Only say it, don't point to it!)
  2. See It
    1. Now you can give visual cues. You can gesture or point to what you're talking about.
    2. Your child's brain is now connecting what they heard with what they now see.
    3. Example: Point to the dog. Make sure your child sees it.
  3. Hear It Again
    1. Say it again so that your child gets two chances to make the connection.
    2. This is closing the auditory loop.
    3. Example: "That's a nice dog!"

See? Super simple.

  • Give a direction without any visual cues (auditory first)
  • Give the visual cue (point or gesture)
  • Say the auditory direction again (close the auditory loop)

The biggest thing is to initially only giving an auditory clue.

If you say, "Put on your shoes" while simultaneously pointing to your child's shoes.... how do you know they understood by listening? Your child could have just watched you point the shoes and assumed that they needed to put them on.

This defeats the whole purpose of trying to develop your child's auditory skills. In this scenario you're child is cueing in to your visual prompt (pointing) and the auditory direction may not even be listened to. Instead, it's better to tell your child to put on their shoes and then see whether they can follow this direction just by listening.

That's a Wrap

We use gestures all the time. When I was in grad school and learning to use this strategy, I intentionally would hold my hands in my lap to make sure I didn't use them. It's a tough habit to break but consistently making an effort with bring good results. Give it a try and keep on trying.

It's okay to use gestures and "talk with our hands" but when you're working on developing your child's auditory skills, go for auditory first with the auditory sandwich.

It gets easier and you child's brain development is worth the effort.

Check out more Listening and Spoken Language Strategies.

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