Info on Auditory Processing Disorder
FAQ on This Auditory Learning Disability
Almost 90% of learning difficulties — keeping up in class, reading, homework efficiency — stem from an auditory learning disability, central auditory processing disorder (CAPD or APD).
Visual processing, memory and other skills play a part in learning, but by far the most important cognitive skill is auditory processing. Listening, reading, writing, and thinking are all language skills. An auditory learning disability can have a profound impact on learning.
What is Auditory Processing Disorder? A Definition.
APD is a deficiency in how the brain interprets auditory signals, particularly language. This is different to hearing loss. A child may test normally in a hearing assessment, but have tremendous difficulty processing sounds in a meaningful way.
The specific auditory processing deficits caused by auditory processing disorder are many and varied, falling into APD sub types.
What Causes Auditory Processing Disorder?
Many children simply struggle to develop the processing skill required to process at natural language speed, 40 sounds a second, leading to an auditory processing disorder diagnosis.
Auditory processing disorder can sometimes be traced back to head trauma, tumors, degenerative disorders, childhood viruses, recurring ear infections or brain development issues. And auditory processing disorder may run in families. But, the most common cause is “none of the above.”
What are the Symptoms of APD?
Auditory processing disorder symptoms are diverse and often not recognized. For instance, inattentive ADD is mainly caused by APD but is often treated in isolation.
How is APD Treated?
Since APD is an auditory learning disability, there are many opportunities to help children with auditory processing difficulties, falling into three primary strategies:
- Environmental Change. Electronic listening devices and/or moving children to the front of the class are examples of ways to alter the learning environment.
- Compensatory Strategies. Active listening and reading strategies, such as phonics training, help students work around their auditory processing difficulty.
- Direct Treatment. Strategies to remediate the disorder itself include interactive computer software, listening programs and one-on-one therapies.
Is Auditory Processing hard-Wired Or Can It Be Improved?
Just like physical muscles, all cognitive skills can be strengthened if exercised appropriately. Auditory processing may in fact be the easiest to improve, since it is the easiest to interact with, using sound. Fast ForWord uses this approach.
Can APD Cause Dyslexia?
Yes. Dyslexia is a language-related auditory learning disability. While sensory integration and visual processing difficulties are sometimes linked to dyslexia, the most common issue is auditory processing disorder.
APD and dyslexia
Auditory Processing Disorder & the School Day
Auditory processing disorder can make for a miserable school day, eroding confidence and the love of learning we are all born with. Consider these classic APD symptoms:
- If your child cannot keep up in class, he will simply tune out.
- It may be hard to gather directions for homework assignments.
- Nuances of peer conversation and jokes may be hard to pick up, creating social discomfort.
- Auditory processing difficulties undermine phonological awareness required for fluent decoding, creating anxiety at reading time, reading math problems, etc.
These consequences of APD cause homework frustration and/or disappointing grades. In addition, auditory processing disorder impacts dexterity and fluidity with language — it creates noise in how we think.