Children who have auditory processing disorder (APD) are unable to process verbal information the same way other children can, due to the ears and brain not working together correctly. There is a delay from the information they hear to be processed by their brain. Sometimes this delay can be 10 seconds or longer. By the time the brain begins to process the first word that was spoken to them, the person speaking has already said the entire sentence. This means the child with Auditory Processing disorder may have only heard the first word, or first few words spoken.
Children with Auditory Processing Disorder can have difficulty doing school work, especially if instruction is long or has multiple steps. These children also commonly have speech and language difficulty, as they cannot decipher the difference between letter sounds that are alike.
For example, words that start with "Pr" and "Dr" may sound exactly the same to a child with ADP. Many children with Auditory Processing delay will need additional help from a Speech-Language Pathologist to stay at the same speech and language level as their peers.
Children with this disorder also have Auditory Memory problems and are more visual learners. Visual aids in the classroom can help the child learn or know what steps to do next in class. Poor organizational skills are not uncommon with Auditory Processing Disorder in Children. These children may need a buddy or help from an aide in the classroom when organizing schoolwork to bring home in their backpacks. Children who have this disorder may also suffer from Auditory Attention Problems, especially if there is a lot of background noise in the home or classroom. It may appear that the child is deaf, simply not listening or that they have Attention Deficit Disorder, (a common misdiagnosis) as their brain tries to keep up with processing verbal information.
Researchers are still trying to identify the exact cause of Auditory Processing Disorder in Children, but some feel that exposure to lead, trauma to the head or chronic ear infections may be to blame. Proper diagnosis can come from evaluations from a Speech-Language Pathologist who is knowledgeable in ADP or from an Audiologist who specializes in the diagnosis of ADP. Proper diagnosis can help the child succeed in school and at home, as parents, teachers and other aides can work together to provide the right services to the child in the home and school.
- Special Education Dictionary
- ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act
- AMAO – Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives
- APD – Auditory Processing Disorder in Children
- CST – Child Study Team
- EHA – Education for All Handicapped Children Act
- FAPE – Free Appropriate Public Education
- IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
- IDEIA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act
- IEP – Individual Education Plan
- IHCP – Individualized Health Care Plan
- LD – Learning Disabled
- LDT-C – Learning Disabilities Consultants
- LRE – Least Restrictive Environment
- ODD – Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- OHI – Other Health Impairments
- PWN – Prior Written Notice
- RTI – Response to Intervention