Lately I have been fielding calls from numerous parents whose children have been diagnosed Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). Auditory processing is the term used to describe what happens when the brain recognizes and interprets sounds. Children affected by APD can’t process auditory information in the same manner as their peers, as something adversely affects the processing or interpretation of the information.
ADP, sometimes referred to as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), affects roughly 5% of school-aged children. These children often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words – especially when they are exposed to noise or listening to complex information. Common symptoms include:
Trouble paying attention
Easily distracted or bothered by loud and/or sudden noises
Trouble remembering information Difficulty comprehending abstract information
Trouble following directions
Difficulty with reading, comprehension, spelling, writing and vocabulary
Trouble with verbal (word) math problems
Difficulty following conversations
For parents and educators, it can be a challenge to teach children who have APD. Here are a few strategies that you might find helpful.
Make sure the child looks directly at you when you’re speaking.
Children with ADP often thrive in quieter learning environments with minimal distractions, as they are better able to assimilate information in the proper manner.
For students struggling with reading and distinguishing the difference between similar sounds, try practice rhyming, segmenting words into syllables and segmenting compound words.
If following directions is an issue, be sure to speak in a slow deliberate manner, and give only one task at a time. Ask the child to repeat the directions back to you.
If noise is an issue, be sure to seat the child at the front of the class and eliminate as much unnecessary background noise (TV, radio, outdoor noise, etc.) as possible.
If auditory memory issues are prevalent, visual cues can help children to differentiate information and retain concepts.
With the proper interventions, children with APD can go on to be just as successful as their peers!
Yolanda is the mom of 3 young children in the Delaware Valley and the Founder of Team Tutor.