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Your Guide to Auditory Processing Disorder

Does your child have difficulties following directions, completing tests, and understanding speech? Do they often confuse simple words or mix up their order? They might have an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).

It's estimated that up to 10% of children struggle with APD. It can affect every area of their life, from school success to friendships. Let's take a closer look at the symptoms and treatments of this auditory disorder.

What Is Auditory Processing Disorder?

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is an auditory deficit that affects understanding and communication. It's not connected to intelligence, memory, or language disorders.

People with APD have a more difficult time processing, interpreting, and understanding speech. Risk factors include family history, brain injury, and other psychological or cognitive disorders.

Auditory Processing Disorder Symptoms

The first step to understanding auditory processing disorder is recognizing the symptoms. Four key auditory skills affect how we process speech and sound.

Auditory Discrimination

Children who struggle with this skill have difficulties differentiating sounds in words. For example, if their teacher says "the cat in the hat," they might hear "a mat and a bat."

They'll often have a hard time following verbal instructions even if they focus. Reading skills may also become delayed for some children. This can become problematic in the classroom and affect their quality of education.

Auditory Figure-Ground Discrimination

The brain usually does an excellent job of filtering background noise. But children with APD struggle to discriminate between direct speech and white noise. They can quickly lose focus and become confused in noisy environments.

They might miss the teacher's instructions because other students are chatting in the classroom. A parent's call for dinner might get lost in the TV noise. Even when playing with friends, they might struggle to follow conversations and games.

Auditory Memory

Recalling earlier verbally-delivered information is auditory memory. Lacking this skill can create frustrating challenges for children at school. Traditional classrooms run on the teacher's instructions, group work, and discussions.

Children with APD may not be able to recall prior directions, stories, or discussions. They might struggle with summarizing and homework because of their inability to remember. At home, this can manifest as forgetting names, important dates, and responsibilities.

Auditory Sequencing

Sequencing refers to the order of sounds and words. Children with APD might have difficulties remembering and using the proper order. For example, they'll likely confuse numbers like 26 and 62.

They may also find it impossible to learn songs or memorize poems and rhymes. Solving multi-step math problems can be very tough. And listening tests turn into a nightmare!

Children with APD may struggle with one, some, or all these skills. But it's important to note that these APD signs can show up in different ways for everyone. That's why individualized treatment is essential!

Treatments for Auditory Processing Disorder

Speech-language pathology is one of the most common APD treatments. Therapists can be especially helpful in improving auditory discrimination skills. They will also help children practice active listening and improve their reading skills.

Changing the classroom environment is essential for success. Children should work in a quiet space and receive written instructions when possible. Assistive technology and auditory training can be a part of the treatment plan. At-home worksheets and training are also helpful!

The Journey Towards Successful Communication

Children with Auditory Processing Disorder often struggle in school, home life, and relationships. But early and individualized treatment can set them up for success in the future! And a big part of that comes from supportive parents and educators.

Parents can help their children learn vital techniques right at home. Explore our auditory processing ebooks now! You'll find a strategies guide, picture cards, and worksheets geared towards APD.

Alice Kassotaki - Speech Language Pathologist MSc, BSc

copyright Upbility 2022

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