Auditory Processing Disorder (ADP) is a problem whereby the brain is unable to process sounds in a normal way. There may be nothing wrong with your child’s ears and hearing, but then the signal leaves the inner ear it travels along the auditory nerve to the brain and this auditory process is disrupted.
Between the age of 0 and 3 years old is critical for language learning and auditory processing plays a vital role. This is the age when the brain is most prepared to map information from sounds or spoken words onto its language centers.
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Very often an Auditory Processing Disorder is mistaken for a hearing deficit, general learning difficulties or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). For this reason it is always important to have your child diagnosed by a qualified professional and don’t be scared to get a second opinion to ensure you have the correct diagnosis.
Children with Auditory Processing Disorder struggle to understand instructions and pay attention, particularly when in a class room environment where there can be a lot of background noise. It makes it hard for children to recognize the differences in between the sounds in words and their ability to process what is being said.
Signs Of Auditory Processing Disorder In Children
- Not paying attention
- Easily distracted
- Hearing words incorrectly
- Frequently asking “huh” or “what”?
- Difficulty with reading
- Difficulty in understanding what is being said when there is background noise
- Language delays
- Poor social interaction
- Misinterpretation of social cues
- Low cognitive functioning
- Developmental immaturity
- Poor conceptual thinking
Which Skills Are Affected By Auditory Processing Disorder
While children can learn to work around a lot of the challenges they face with Auditory processing disorder, it can create lifelong difficulties if it is not diagnosed and managed.
Communication – Children with APD may struggle to speak clearly, dropping the ends of words and not emphasizing syllables. They may confuse similar sounds for a much longer period than their peers.
Social Skills – Children with APD have difficulty telling jokes and stories. They often avoid talking with their peers due to finding it difficult to process what is being said and struggling to come up with an appropriate response.
Academic Skills – Children with APD tend to have difficulty with developing writing, reading and spelling skills. Development of phonemic awareness (the building blocks for reading) can be incredibly difficult, as well as learning vowels. It is challenging to understand spoken instructions.
How To Help Your Child With Auditory Processing Disorder
While your child will be facing many challenges there are certain things that can be done to make thing easier for your child, both at school and at home.
Learn About Auditory Processing Disorder
The first step with any problem you face is to learn as much as you can about it. Do some research online and find out everything you can about Auditory Processing Disorder from the professional that diagnosed your child.
Get Professional Assistance
This is not something that you will be able to resolve on your own, make sure to find professionals that can assist your child overcome the challenges associated with Auditory Processing Disorder.
Indigo Learning makes use of neuroscience based programs designed to improve the brain’s ability to process auditory information. Their method is based on science and measured results which builds foundational cognitive and language skills. Their systematic approach identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the child, highlighting the developmental priority areas. Significant improvement in processing speeds, sequencing, memory, attention and language skills can be seen.
Work With The School
When your child has been diagnosed make an appointment with your child’s school to discuss how to move forward with your child’s education in a proactive way. It is essential that your child’s teacher understands the challenges that your child is facing and accommodates for this as much as possible.
Here are some ways that the school can make it easier for your child to cope:
- Have your child sit in the front of the class room so he is away from distractions which can help him focus.
- Improve acoustics by ensuring that windows and doors are closed, minimizing outside noise.
- Make use of visuals (images and gestures) to reinforce your child’s understanding of what is being said.
- Making use of a personal listening device whereby your child wears a headset and the teacher wears a microphone can greatly improve acoustics and block out background noise.
- A quiet room for taking tests.
Tips For Home
There are some things that you can also do in the home to make it easier for your child to cope and to learn:
- Make sure your child is looking at you when you speak.
- Use simple instructions giving one step at a time.
- Ask your child to repeat instructions back to you. He can also make notes if he needs to complete the instructions later.
- Speak slowly, clearly and loud enough.
- Create a quiet space for your child to study and complete homework.
Get Behavioural Advice
Your child will be coping with learning difficulties but also with the social and emotional challenges that come with Auditory Processing Disorder. Ask the professionals that are helping your child to help you understand your child’s behaviour and how you can help your child cope with his feelings and emotions too.
Connect With Other Parents That Have Children With APD
Getting support for yourself is also important and connecting with other parents that are going through the same thing will be valuable. You can share strategies and information with each other