Ever had a student who struggled to attend to “the right” sounds? Instead of the teacher’s voice they might hyper focus on the sounds of cars on the street, peers in another room, or the low hum of the computer or projector. It can be easy to impose expectations that assume all students experience sensory input the same way—the way YOU do! It can be easy to say “just focus on me”—but is that really helpful? Instead, let’s remember that kids with auditory sensitivity can’t simply “stop focusing on that sound”. We’re all wired a little differently and acknowledging and respecting these variables allows us to show up for our students in a way that meets them where they are.
As an adult it might be easy to self advocate and say "sorry can you repeat that, I'm having a hard time filtering out the background noise" or "there's a lot going on right now, can you slow down so I can take notes?" but for our kids, this is often more difficult. We can teach our kids to self advocate, to notice when they need an accommodation and to understand how they learn (and respond) best! Perhaps most importantly, to know that they are entitled to accommodations and that there is absolutely zero shame in speaking up about what each of us needs to be our best selves. It all starts with a classroom that respects neurodiversity.