The Importance of Integrating Visual & Auditory Processing

If you’ve read our blog articles on Auditory and Visual Processing Disorders, you already know that both visual and auditory skills play an important role in a child’s educational advancement.

But there’s another important layer to keep in mind.

Each of these skills alone isn’t enough to get your child to where they want to be—they need to master having both working in tandem with each other. In other words, the two skills must be integrated.

Why Is This So Important?

Put simply, integrating auditory processing skills and visual processing skills is a necessary next step in order to make these two skills actually capable of achieving academic success. On their own, your child will still not be able to fully advance in their academic pursuits.

Whether auditorily or visually, simply memorizing terms and math tables is an excellent method of improving auditory and visual processing abilities and making it possible for your child to take tests and stay afloat with the demands of their classes. However, there is a limit to how effective a child’s learning will be if they only ever rely on memorization rather than moving into the integration area.

Comprehension is the key.

The problem with memorization is that, while it helps you know the answers to the direct questions your teacher asks, it doesn’t contribute to your actual comprehension and understanding of the subject overall. 

To actually be successful in the long run, and to benefit from actually learning about these subjects, the child needs to be able to actually grasp the reasons why the answers they’re learning are correct—and to be able to do so by integrating the information their brain has taken in through both auditory and visual stimuli.

How Can We Achieve This?

As far as auditory and visual integration goes when it comes to comprehension, we have one key piece of advice—teach your child to get in the habit of using both skills together at all times.

  • When hearing a sentence spoken out loud, your child must learn to visualize what they hear.
  • When reading a sentence on a page, your child must learn to voice the words, either in their head or out loud.

When your child is listening to a story, have them try to imagine or picture in their mind what the characters and their actions would really look like, and to do this continuously when listening to stories until it becomes a habit. 

Rather than memorizing names of characters and trying to arbitrarily remember who each one is, actually creating a mental image of the character that stays in the child’s mind as they listen to the story will make this process much easier and will help train them to tie auditory information to visual information and make that important connection in their overall comprehension.

At the same time, to reinforce the memory of names of the characters, use voicing—say the names of the characters in your head, while envisioning the letters of the name. Have your child read out loud to practice this skill and get into the habit of associating the spoken sounds of words with their written appearance. Encourage them to hear the word (the name, the place, etc) even when reading silently to themselves.

Visualizing and voicing work well because they directly force the brain to integrate both the visual processing skills (through creating mental pictures of information) and the auditory processing skills (through hearing words and associating those words with specific details)—bringing them closer to the ultimate goal of improving their understanding of school materials and succeeding both academically and in everyday life tasks despite their challenges.

How Can We Put This Into Practice?

Like with many other skill-building efforts, we advise trying to make this fun and treating it like a game, so your child can seamlessly build the skill without feeling pressured or excessively challenged in trying to do so.

Some ways to approach this in a game-like manner could include:

  • Read your child a description of a character’s appearance in the story, then show them images of multiple different people and ask them to point out which one looks more like the character
  • Ask your child to try and draw or build a miniature model of the place where the story is set, trying to recall as many details from the verbal description as possible
  • Cover up cards with the names of characters written up, and have the child identify which character the card is referring to once the writing is revealed
  • When playing our recommended games where your child tries to associate written words with their meaning, have them read the words out loud before proceeding with each task

How Can I Learn More?

If you think your child can benefit from help in trying to integrate their visual and auditory processing skills, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for more information or to share your questions. We are always happy to try and help in any way we can!