by Becky L. Spivey, M.Ed.
Get Students’ Attention
- Establish eye contact and speak at the students’ eye level. Get close, face the students, and gain their visual as well as auditory attention before speaking.
- Use a cueing system to help students refocus when they are not paying attention. Use words like “listen,” “get ready,” and “you’ll want to remember this one” when you are about to present key information.
- Assign a peer partner to assist students needing help with getting assignments down correctly, completing group projects, taking notes, and preparing for tests. Because it is difficult for APD students to
watch and take notes simultaneously, give students a copy of the teacher’s notes, a study guide, or another student’s notes. Allow students to tape lessons for future reference and study.
- Give APD students more time to transition between activities. Name the new activity and explain in a few steps what is going to happen. Review and close the activity by summarizing what the
students should have learned before transitioning to the next activity.
Preferential Seating Arrangements
- Seat APD students as close as three, but not farther than eight feet away from the teacher, sound source, or
activity to maximize auditory/visual information. Allow students to move around for different activities and sit
wherever they are able to attend and actively participate.
- Seat APD students away from distracting noises (fish tank, doors, bathrooms, windows, etc.).
- Provide quiet or isolated places for study and work to minimize distractions.
- Use a daily routine or schedule to keep students focused and organized.
- Allow APD students to use earplugs or earmuffs while doing seatwork to eliminate noise or distractions.
- Use a personal or sound amplification system, but an audiologist should make this recommendation. The
teacher must take in-service training on using certain systems.
- Speak at a rate and volume level loud enough for students to follow. Vary loudness to increase students’
attention using intonation and stress, but never over-exaggerate your speech. Repeat important words and
use gestures to enhance instruction and comprehension.
- Alert distracted students by calling their name or giving a cue, and repeat their name periodically to keep
- Define a purpose for different activities and give direct, uncomplicated, and age-appropriate instructions for
the task. Reduce verbal instruction. Repeat instructions step by step if necessary and allow time for students to
process the information.
- Provide examples by modeling or demonstrating and leave the example on display. Emphasize key words.
Encourage students to ask questions. Check students’ comprehension by asking questions periodically.
- Boost self-confidence by giving students positive feedback.
- Repeat or paraphrase instructions. Ask students to explain the directions to you to confirm their understanding.
- Review the first few items of the task at hand to help keep students focused. Watch
for signs of inattention or decreased concentration. Intervene with questions to keep students focused.
- Allow students to read quietly or repeat directions to themselves (subvocalize).
Preview and Review Consistently
- Preview, review, and summarize all new and previous lessons including vocabulary
words and concepts. Relate new material to previous lessons and experiences.
- Provide pre-assigned readings and homework before introducing new material and/or topics.
- Provide a short preview, outline, list of new vocabulary, and key points for class discussion and as a guide for
parents to help with homework and review for tests.
- Keep parents and resource teachers informed of the upcoming topics and lessons.
- Encourage students to express their opinions, answer questions, read aloud, etc. in all activities.
- Give short breaks between activities to help students avoid fatigue.
- Allow extended time for APD students to complete tasks.
- Give students adequate time to respond to questions that include comprehension, generalizing information, or explaining a process.
Organization in the Classroom
- Encourage using an agenda or other organizer for recording assignments, test dates, important school events,
field trips, etc. Teachers or peer helpers can check the agenda daily to make sure assignments and other
information have been written correctly. Have students’ parents/caregivers initial the agenda periodically to
keep ongoing communication. (This is a great way to send frequent notes and comments to parents!)
- Make sure students understand organizational expectations in the classroom (e.g., where to place homework assignments, folders, and
classroom tools). Label these places with cue cards if necessary.