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I have recently heard about a program for students with ADHD/ADD that allows them to wear headphones while the teacher speaks into a microphone. This allows the student to be actively engaged in the instruction part of a lesson. Can you tell me what it is called and/or where I can obtain it?

You are probably referring to an auditory trainer (also called an FM System) which is a type of Assistive Listening Device. Auditory trainers allow students to focus on what the teacher is saying, eliminating distractions from background noise. These tools can be used with students with Central Auditory Processing Disorder, students with hearing impairments, or other students (such as those with ADD/ADHD or learning disabilities) who may have trouble filtering out classroom noise. There is a brief description of auditory trainers in the article Auditory Processing Disorder in Children(opens in a new window).

Boystown National Research Hospital(opens in a new window) has a good description of FM Systems that may be helpful in understanding how auditory trainers can be used in the classroom. There can be drawbacks to using an auditory trainer as it may keep a student from hearing questions or comments made by other students in the classroom. However, these tools can be helpful in a lecture format, or if the teacher is sure to repeat questions asked by other students.

There are many places online to find companies that sell Assistive Listening Devices; The Hearing Review(opens in a new window) has a good list. However, you may want to discuss your child’s needs with the assistive technology specialist for your district, or work with a specialist at your local children’s hospital to ensure that you select the right product.

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