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Auditory Processing

  • Posted on November 23, 2012 at 9:00 AM

What are your experiences with auditory processing? Does listening to learn work for you? If not, what do you do to compensate?

I’ve been researching ways to help Ben avoid painful auditory stimuli and ways to help him access necessary auditory stimuli, like teacher’s instructions. And I keep coming back to accommodations designed for people with hearing impairments. Are there similar accommodations designed specifically for people with listening/processing impairments?

On Engaging and Miscommunication (2 of 3)

  • Posted on June 29, 2010 at 12:20 AM

In my last post I introduced the concept of engaging and how it relates to prejudice.  Lack of engagement also occurs at what I would call a micro level.  At this level, we fail to engage with people we know and care about.  This is less an issue of stereotyping than it is lack of communication.

We interact with people we know on a regular basis.  These are our family members, our friends, our co-workers, and our neighbors.  We don’t necessarily stereotype these individuals, but we do create mental templates of who and what they are.  These templates are more the accumulated experiences we’ve had with these individuals.

It is often easier to interact with these templates than it is to engage with the individuals. This goes back to the difference of engaging with your child and half-listening while thinking about that pesky to-do list running through your mind.  The problem with failing to engage while talking with people we know is that even our templates of these individuals are faulty. 

However well we know an individual, our perception of them is always filtered through our own biases and our own experiences.  We insert these filtered perceptions into our mental templates of individuals, and what we get is a flawed, distorted copy of the person we know.  When we interact with the template instead of the person, we are interacting with a distortion.  Only by genuinely engaging with the individual are we able to break past our own internal filters to see the person more clearly and understand what the individual is trying to communicate.

This becomes especially important when we interact with people with atypical means of communication, but that will be the subject of my next post.

The point of this post is that failing to engage with individuals we know creates miscommunication.  If we think we know what someone is going to say, we often fail to listen to what is actually said.  Even after we have failed to hear them, we think we know what they said.  In our mind, we insert the conversation we think we had into our mental template of that person.  Not only does this mean we have miscommunicated in this one instance, it also perpetuates the miscommunication in future conversations.  We go back to the conversation we think we had and take it a little further the next time we talk to that person.  The second time we get a little further from what is actually being said.

Only be engaging in the conversation and listening actively and involving ourselves in how our own life intersects with the other person’s life can we truly know what that person is saying.