How to teach sound localization

Thanks to my friend Ashley…for inspiring me to write this post…this one is written for her and her LO.

Sound localization is your little one’s ability to turn his head to the sound he hears.  For example if you crumbled up a piece of cellophane wrapping paper..or you popped bubble wrap (my little guy Gregory called this stuff BUBBLE RAF…so I sometimes still like to call it that…because they grow up so quickly…and you do not want to forget the silly things they said when they were little)….

Anyway…what you want to do is gather together toys that obviously make sound.  Here is a list of toys you can use to help target this skill:

Musical toys…stuffed animals that make sound..or any animal figure that makes an animal sound…keys…rattles…pop tubes are great!!! and rainsticks….cellophane wrapping paper…bubble wrap…..a toy car that makes sound…toy fire truck that makes sound.

Remember the goal will be that you little one responds to the sound he hears…and then localizes to the sound source..this means he turns his head to see where the sound is coming from.  This post is written because a mama contacted me..and one of her concerns is that her LO is NOT localizing to the sound source and responding to sounds in his environment (always important to rule out hearing loss).

So this is what the therapy session would look like:

Show him the toy…activate it to make the sound…and then tap on his ear as you say: Did you hear that?  You are helping him to become more aware of the sounds he hears…..I would use the same toys with him while targeting this skill.  During play  activate all of the toys one by one….let him hear the sound…and tie it with your words: did you hear that?…checking to see if he shows an awareness that he heard the sound.

When you feel that he is responding well to this and reacting
in some way to show you that he is responding to sound…maybe he smiles..or
laughs…maybe his eyes widen…or he startles just a bit….maybe he too attempts to activate the toy to make the sound….. you should present the toy next to him (when I say next to him I mean that it should be out of sight..but close enough to him)…and activate the toy…the goal is for him to then localize to the sound source (this means turn his head to see where the sound is coming from).  And when you see that he is localizing to the sound source…well you have then done your job…and so has he!! Yeah!


I hope this was helpful…I will post more regarding early infant skills.



About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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