Sunday, January 25, 2015

What is Auditory Processing Disorder?


I don't know how this could have been overlooked for so long when I've mentioned the symptoms to so many professionals over the years. I also think Sissy has some of it. This is my child, Jie Jie, for sure, to a T:

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a neurological defect that affects how the brain processes spoken language. This makes it difficult for the child to process verbal instructions or even to filter out background noise in the classroom.

There's no clear agreed-to definition of Auditory Processing Disorder, but there seems to be agreement on these points

There is a breakdown in receiving, remembering, understanding, and using auditory information.
Hearing ability is adequate.
There is a neurological basis.
The child’s ability to listen is impaired.

A child with Auditory Processing Disorder can often have the same types of behavioral problems as a child with ADD. It's easy to see, however, that using the techniques appropriate for an ADD child will not be very effective with a child suffering from auditory processing issues, who can have very specific auditory skills needing to be developed.

Checklist of Behaviors Seen in Children with APD
Listening (noticed for a period of time
Mishearing/discrimination problems
Problems following directions
Problems attending to oral messages
Distracted by background noises
Poor organization of verbal material
Oral and written expression problems
Remembering what they hear
Learning to read
Common Signs of Learning Disabilities

The good news about learning disabilities is that scientists are learning more every day. Their research provides hope and direction.

If parents, teachers, and other professionals discover a child's learning disability early and provide the right kind of help, it can give the child a chance to develop skills needed to lead a successful and productive life. A recent National Institutes of Health study showed that 67 percent of young students who were at risk for reading difficulties became average or above average readers after receiving help in the early grades.

Parents are often the first to notice that "something doesn't seem right." If you are aware of the common signs of learning disabilities, you will be able to recognize potential problems early. The following is a checklist of characteristics that may point to a learning disability. Most people will, from time to time, see one or more of these warning signs in their children. This is normal. If, however, you see several of these characteristics over a long period of time, consider the possibility of a learning disability.

Preschool
Speaks later than most children
Pronunciation problems
Slow vocabulary growth, often unable to find the right word
Difficulty rhyming words
Trouble learning numbers, alphabet, days of the week, colors, shapes
Extremely restless and easily distracted
Trouble interacting with peers
Difficulty following directions or routines
Fine motor skills slow to develop
Grades K-4
Slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds
Confuses basic words (run, eat, want)
Makes consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions (house/home)
Transposes number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs (+, -, x, /, =)
Slow to remember facts
Slow to learn new skills, relies heavily on memorization
Impulsive, difficulty planning
Unstable pencil grip
Trouble learning about time
Poor coordination, unaware of physical surroundings, prone to accidents

Grades 5-8
Reverses letter sequences (soiled/solid, left/felt)
Slow to learn prefixes, suffixes, root words, and other spelling strategies
Avoids reading aloud
Trouble with word problems
Difficulty with handwriting
Awkward, fist-like, or tight pencil grip
Avoids writing assignments
Slow or poor recall of facts
Difficulty making friends
Trouble understanding body language and facial expressions

High School Students and Adults
Continues to spell incorrectly, frequently spells the same word differently in a single piece of writing
Avoids reading and writing tasks
Trouble summarizing
Trouble with open-ended questions on tests
Weak memory skills
Difficulty adjusting to new settings
Works slowly
Poor grasp of abstract concepts
Either pays too little attention to details or focuses on them too much
Misreads information

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My child also has APD but it is very hard to diagnose in children younger than 7 or so. The diagnosis process is arduous, time consuming and most importantly for your kids, they must be able to understand and answer questions in English. Most YOUNG children are actually misdiagnosed with high-functioning autism and it isn't until they are older they can separate it out.

As a fellow SN parent, I sympathize. It is just ONE more thing you have to work with. If JJ has been diagnosed with APD, she'll need strong visual supports, extended time to process information, your ability to restate directions in different ways and before you set her out, have her repeat it back to you and the most important thing I found, able to answer hypotheticals when questioned to check for understanding. A really good SLP can help you with this and it make a world of difference for you and her. You'll be able to see the light go on in her eyes when she gets whatever you are trying to teach.

Good luck! Kids with APD can be taught, can learn quickly and ultimately be successful.