Publication Date



In 'Supporting student wellbeing : what does the research tell us about the social and emotional development of young people? Conference proceedings, 24-26 October Radisson Playford Hotel, Adelaide, South Australia', pages 34-52. Melbourne : ACER


Children who are inattentive or disruptive are at high risk of poor achievement progress, especially in literacy. Approximately nine percent of school children have both literacy and externalising behaviour problems, and the long term consequences of these are costly emotionally, socially, educationally and economically. Many of these children are referred to paediatricians and psychologists to assess whether learning difficulties or attention deficits are contributing factors to their behaviour problems at school. Similarly, many are referred to audiologists to test hearing in the event that their observed difficulties in listening and following instructions may be due to hearing impairment. However, following audiological screening most of these children return normal audiograms, but continue to experience functional auditory processing (AP) difficulties in terms of reduced ability to hold, sequence and process accurately what is heard. In the context of evidence based research findings, this paper provides the formative data for more than ten thousand primary school children (5 to 12 year-olds) in terms of two measured indicators of AP competence namely digit span and sentence length and key features of practical teaching strategies that have strong positive effects on both boys' and girls' literacy progress, their attentive behaviours in the classroom and general wellbeing. The findings from this research indicate that with common health and educational concerns, growing demands for the provision of 'ambulance services' at the bottom of the 'cliff' become increasingly difficult to justify when 'fences' could and should have first been built at the top.