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In the zone

10-year-old Noah McLellan is a bright kid, who struggles to focus at school. To keep him in the zone, Satan’s Little Helper devised a plan…

You don’t hear about Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) much but it’s a serious condition that can have detrimental effects on the children who suffer from it.

Noah McLellan is one of those children, which means that in a noisy classroom, he struggles to decipher what’s being said by the teacher.

“He can hear but can’t process what he hears,” says his mum Lucy. “Noah can’t focus on one conversation and the noise overwhelms his brain.”

The law of unintended consequences

That makes it hard to focus and also has another unintended consequence.

“It makes him look like he’s not listening, especially when there’s lots of background noise – but that’s not the case, he just can’t focus on a speaker.”

Listening isn’t just important in an educational context. It’s a vital aspect of socialising and, unfortunately for Noah, APD means that he is also missing out in that respect.

“He has to talk louder than normal, which other kids react to negatively. He struggles to form friendships and so he misses out socially. He doesn’t seem to notice, because he’s so resilient, but I do, which breaks my heart.”

Despite the challenges he faces, Noah is doing great at school. He’s smart and, even though he also has dyslexia, he doesn’t let it hold him back.

While Noah has a never-say-die attitude, Lucy is worried that, as he gets older, his work ethic won’t be enough.

Concentration boost

“Classes will get bigger and the level of background noise will increase. We’re concerned that he won’t be able to keep up because of it,” she says.

One way Noah can lock out the world, get in the zone and focus on his work is through a good pair of headphones and a comforting story.

So, Satan’s Little Helper jumped into action and sent him a pair of noise-cancelling headphones with an in-built microphone.

“The mic is important, because Noah uses the talk-to-type function on his laptop, which helps him as he struggles with writing and spelling due to his dyslexia.”

It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s helped Noah in all aspects of school. “When it gets noisy, he puts on his headphones, listen to audiobooks and zones out. It helps him work and it keeps him out of trouble, because when the background noise overwhelms him, he can act out.”

“He hasn’t been in trouble lately or got upset when it’s too noisy, which is a huge win.”


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