Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

Some young children seem to have problems deciphering or decoding the sounds that make up language. Even though they have normal hearing, they miss a lot of the details of what’s being said around them, especially in noisy or distracting environments like the classroom. These children may have a condition called auditory processing disorder, and that can interfere with both learning and interacting with other people.

What are the signs that a child might have auditory processing challenges? Here are some behaviors you might have noticed:

·        Doesn’t pick up nursery rhymes or song lyrics

·        Has trouble following directions

·        Doesn’t remember details of what she’s heard

·        Appears to be listening but not hearing

·        Often mistakes two similar-sounding words

·        Has difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments

·        Has trouble learning to read and spell

·        Finds it hard to follow conversations

·        Finds it hard to express himself clearly

·        Frequently asks people to repeat what they’ve said

According to  when a child has an APD they are unable to understand what they hear the same way other children do because their ears and brain don’t fully cooperate.   The brain does not recognize and interpret sounds, especially speech correctly.  These children may have trouble in school because they are unable to recognize differences in sounds and speech especially when there is background noise.

Because these symptoms overlap with other disorders such as ADHD, Dyslexia, Sensory Integration Disorder, Language based learning disabilities, Visual processing deficits and executive function disorder,  auditory processing disorder cannot be diagnosed just from a checklist of symptoms. While a teacher, educational therapist or speech-language pathologist can evaluate how a child is functioning in terms of language and listening tasks, the condition is only diagnosed by audiologists, who use tests that measure specific auditory processing functions. Children can be weak in one or more of them.  Speech Language Associates has Audiologists on staff and mobile testing capabilities.

Kids who have weaknesses in auditory processing can often benefit from accommodations that include optimizing the listening environment and instruction that plays to other strengths. And they often work with speech and language professionals to strengthen listening and decoding skills that come automatically to other kids.

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