Read about Noah’s story and how his school supported him to overcome his auditory processing difficulties.

Noah was born 4 weeks early. After a week in special care he was feeding well and able to go home. He was a quiet baby. He slept well and was very smiley. He was a little late to talk but Mum wasn’t concerned because so was his sister and she’s ‘a right chatterbox now’.


Noah started nursery when he was three. He was talking a little by then but staff reported that he needed some encouragement to join in. He never stayed long on any task and often copied what the other children were doing. He had one good friend who he followed around. Noah liked trains and was always happy to talk about ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’. He could remember the names of all the engines. He sometimes didn’t respond when staff were talking to him but when his hearing was tested he was fine.

What did the staff do? Staff were concerned that Noah might not be understanding. They made sure they always got his attention by calling his name before giving him instructions. They showed him what to do and used lots of repetition. They played simple listening and language games to help develop his understanding and vocabulary skills.


Noah found it hard to settle into school at first. He was very clingy and cried a lot for his Mum. It took him a long time to learn where to put things in the classroom. He was slow to learn his letters and performed poorly in the year 1 phonics test. He still liked trains and engines and was happy to talk about them but otherwise was very quiet in class. He preferred to watch what the other children were doing. His behaviour was not disruptive but he found it very hard to listen and concentrate. His year 2 teacher noticed that he seemed to be falling behind.

What did the staff do? Noah’s school screened him for language difficulties in Year R and found that he was behind his peers. He joined a small group to work on listening and language games and he made very good progress. In year 1 his teacher gave him extra time to answer questions and complete tasks. She simplified instructions for him. He received extra support for phonics. In year 2 staff introduced some simple task management boards so Noah could keep track of the steps in each task. These worked well so his support was reduced. They noticed that when the support was withdrawn he fell behind.


Noah continued to get extra help at school. Although his reading had improved he still found it hard to answer questions about text. His year 4 Teacher thought he may be dyslexic but an assessment was inconclusive. She was concerned because she felt he should be doing better. Noah struggled with classroom instructions and always seemed to forget what he should be doing. He was not disruptive but often seemed to be distracted and unaware of what is going on around him. Noah really started to struggle in year 5. He never seemed to be able to answer a question right. He became more forgetful and started to show signs of frustration. His Mum was concerned about how he would cope at Secondary school.

What did the staff do? In year 5 Noah’s teacher, Mr Hansen, made sure Noah sat near him away from any noisy children or distractions. He introduced some visual support to keep Noah on track during class. A visual timetable was used across each day and Noah continued to use task management boards and story planners for written work. The class TA always made sure Noah knew what to do by asking him to demonstrate or tell her. She helped Mum support him by writing in the homework diary daily. Mr Hansen made sure that he sent home a list of topic vocabulary before teaching any new topics.


Noah found transition to secondary school hard at first and often needed some time out. He struggled to keep up the work and tried not to answer any questions in class. He had a small group of friends but seemed overwhelmed in larger groups. He was interested in computers but found games and PE challenging. He was often distracted in class but had learned to ‘keep his head down and stay out of trouble’. At parents evening staff reported that he was difficult to engage and was a bit of a dreamer.

What did the staff do? A transition support plan was put in place for Noah. He was paired with an older year 10 boy as his mentor. He showed Noah around the school and was often seen chatting to him in the dining hall. His year group tutor met with Noah once a week. She checked that staff were helping Noah complete his homework diary and contacted Mum by email to let her know what Noah needed to do. Noah continued to find it hard to listen and concentrate in lessons so the AENCo worked with his subject teachers to promote paired work and practical tasks in class. She also made sure he had a quiet space when he needed some time out.

Noah has chosen his GCSE subjects. He wants to become a mechanic. He still loves trains!

Names have been changed.

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