An auditory processing disorder (APD) or central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) occurs when the sound is received accurately by the ear, but becomes distorted or changed in some way before it is received by the language area of the brain.
Hearing and listening are not the same thing.
Someone who tests with normal hearing but has trouble focusing on a conversation, trouble remembering what was heard, or says ‘What?’ or ‘Huh?’ frequently may have an auditory processing disorder. People with the symptoms of an auditory processing disorder are often mistaken for being lazy and unmotivated. The problem is not how well the person hears but with how the auditory nervous system is processing the information it is taking in. An auditory processing disorder may have a serious effect on a child’s language skills, reading, general academics, and social skills.
Signs & Symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder
- ✔ Has normal hearing
- ✔ Poor reading and spelling skills
- ✔ Trouble with multiple step directions
- ✔ Trouble focusing or concentrating
- ✔ Gets frustrated
- ✔ Disruptive behavior
- ✔ Poor organization of verbal language
- ✔ Hears words incorrectly
- ✔ Trouble remembering what was heard
- ✔ Tires easily when having to listen for long periods
- ✔ Trouble listening with background noises
- ✔ Trouble with phonics, speech sounds or telling some sounds apart
- ✔ Says ‘Huh?’ or ‘What?’ often
- ✔ Slow to respond orally
- ✔ Difficulty following oral instructions
- ✔ Poor long and short term memory
- ✔ Oral and written expression challenges
- ✔ Looks at speaker but appears to not be listening
- ✔ Mild speech-language problems
- ✔ History of ear infections
- ✔ Cannot locate where sound is coming from
- ✔ Difficulty learning songs, rhymes
- ✔ Poor music and singing ability
Think of an auditory processing disorder as similar to using a cell phone with a bad connection.
You try to talk to the other person but their voice comes and goes, or gets fuzzy. You quickly reach a point where you tell the person you need to call them back hoping for a better connection, but if you have an auditory processing disorder, you don’t have the ability to call back for a better connection. You concentrate to understand the person on the other end, and since you would not be able to hear well you would end up missing part of the information.
Other distractions cause you to have additional trouble hearing on your cell phone, so you will have to work even harder, which adds to your confusion. As you try to focus on the broken up message you will be unable comprehend some of what is being said. Often people who have auditory processing issues are not always aware they are missing information and are surprised when they find they do. Other times they know they aren’t getting everything and try to fill in the gaps with what they logically think would fit, sometimes misinterpreting what is said.
Auditory processing can be subdivided into nine categories
- ✔ Word Discrimination
- ✔ Phonological Segmentation
- ✔ Phonological Blending
- ✔ Non-meaningful Information Memory Forward
- ✔ Non-meaningful Information Memory Reversed
- ✔ Word Memory
- ✔ Sentence Memory
- ✔ Auditory Comprehension
- ✔ Auditory Reasoning
What can be done?
Auditory processing problems should be addressed in two specific ways: the outside-in approach, which are services that address speech and language, and the inside-out approach, using auditory stimulation. Some of the programs that we use include: LiPS, PACE, Auditory Intervention, and SmartPlus.
The Learning Skills Pyramid is the foundation of successful remediation. If you focus on just parts of the problem, therapy will not always bring about the desired results. You’ll be left with missing pieces in your program… that’s where HOLS comes in. In order to identify the contributing factors, a Functional Academic and Learning Skills Evaluation must be administered to determine the source of the missing pieces. Only then can a comprehensive program be designed that will address your child’s weaknesses in developmental order.