What is Auditory Processing Disorder?
Auditory processing disorder (APD) affects the way the brain processes or interprets sound. Individuals with APD may have trouble making sense of sounds, recognizing subtle differences in sounds, or blocking out background noises.1
- 5-7% Of school-aged children are affected by APD2
- 2:1 APD is diagnosed twice as often in boys than in girls2
- 50% Of children with dyslexia also have APD3
Early Signs of auditory Processing disorder
- Difficulty understanding in a noisy environment3
- Struggles to follow oral instructions3
- Trouble understanding metaphors, puns, or jokes3
- Difficulty distinguishing between different sounds or words3
- Struggles to comprehend or pay attention to verbal presentations or lectures3
What to Do if You Notice Signs of Auditory Processing Disorder
Make note of any symptoms you see in your child’s behavior. The more information you have when talking to a teacher or professional, the better.
Talk to Your Child's Teacher
With your list of observations in hand, schedule a conversation with your child’s teacher. Ask whether he or she has noticed similar behaviors, and whether these issues are affecting your child’s performance in school.
Visit Your Child's Pediatrician
It’s important to rule out any medical issues by having your child’s hearing checked by a pediatrician. Hearing issues are very different from APD and require different types of interventions.
Request an Evaluation
Talk to your child’s school about getting your child’s receptive language and listening comprehension skills measured by a speech-language pathologist or school psychologist. To get an actual APD diagnosis, you’ll need to visit an audiologist.2
Be Proactive and Trust Your Gut
No one knows your child better than you do. Don’t be afraid to request an evaluation if you believe your child is having issues with auditory processing.
What to Do if Your Child is Diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder
Find a Specialist
If your child has been diagnosed with APD, you’ll want to find an expert who is well trained in research-based interventions for auditory processing issues. Look for professionals with full certification and ongoing education in the area of audio processing.
Request Classroom Accommodations
Simple adjustments within the classroom can help your child with auditory processing issues. Ask his or her teacher to:
- Rephrase confusing oral or written directions1
- Stress key words and vary pitch and tone when speaking1
- Ask specific questions to check for comprehension1
Create an Individualized Education Plan
Talk to your child’s school about designing a formal Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This plan will map out your child’s specific needs and hold the school accountable for special accommodations. Always request a written copy of the plan.2
Common Auditory Processing Disorder Myths
Myth:APD is a hearing issue.Fact:
While APD is related to hearing, it is actually an issue involving the way sound is processed by the brain. A child can have perfect hearing but still have APD.1
Myth:APD only affects verbal and listening activities.Fact:
APD impairs a child’s ability to distinguish between similar sounds or words. This skill is an important foundation for reading, spelling, and writing.4
Myth:APD is rare.Fact:
Studies show that between five and seven percent of school-aged children are affected by APD.2
Myth:Students with APD are not smart.Fact:
APD spans the IQ continuum. Audio processing issues and IQ are not connected, and many individuals with APD are bright, creative, and successful.
Myth:Individuals with APD are bad listeners.Fact:
APD affects a child’s ability to understand and interpret speech. Children with APD may tune out of complex or fast-paced conversations, but not because they are rude or lazy.
- Auditory Processing Disorder. Learning Disabilities Association of America. Retrieved from http://ldaamerica.org/types-of-learning-disabilities/auditory-processing-disorder/
- APD Foundation. Auditory Processing Disorder. Retrieved from http://www.theapdfoundation.org/
- Prevalence of APD. Auditory Processing Center. Retrieved from http://auditorycenter.com/what-is-auditory-processing-disorder/prevalence-of-apd/#sthash.HlUGjDyU.dpbs
- Cortiella, Candace and Horowitz, Sheldon H. The State of Learning Disabilities: Facts, Trends and Emerging Issues. New York: National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2014, from http://www.ncld.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/2014-State-of-LD.pdf