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What A Child with APD Hears and Sees … All Day Long

Written By Geoff Nixon . April 15, 2019

Warning, For Parents This Is A Hard Listen

Does your child have an APD diagnosis? And if so, have you ever wondered what your child’s day is like?  This article gives you a couple of ways to get a true sense of how an APD brain works, especially when it struggles to process what’s heard.

APD, sometimes also called CAPD or central auditory processing disorder, is a difficulty in processing sound.  Children with APD generally have good hearing although they may have had ear infections or glue ear earlier in life. However, add in background noise and they could really be lost.

While there are a range of APD symptoms, what concerns parents most is the impact APD has on processing language and the crucial role language plays in reading and learning. Everything is harder- from listening in class to sounding out while reading, and holding multi-step instructions in working memory.

Experience APD for yourself

We first wrote about what it feels like to have APD in 2015. In that article we focused on the expression, sound through water (there’s a book with that name) and the idea that it feels like it’s all coming at you too fast. The teacher is talking at 50 miles an hour, and you are processing at 30 mph.

Here is another take,  a life with APD infographic – it summarizes how APD impacts various aspects of a child’s day.

In addition, here is a video that replicates auditory simulation and also demonstrates the reading difficulties associated with APD – watch the Braincipher video here. It is a little slow moving, deliberately, as that is part of a child’s experience

After you ‘hear’ the text, try to answer the questions. You’ll feel a knot in your stomach, and you’ll reset the questions. It’s not fair, you’ll say, I didn’t hear the text properly. The simulation nails it for how a person with APD feels. It’s harrowing. 

Above all you’re left thinking, how do folks with APD cope in the world?

F.A.T. City

This is an old video, but it was the first attempt to help teachers see what some of their students were experiencing.  In fact, it was this video that inspired the founder of Gemm Learning to go down the track of trying to get at the underlying source of APD.  After seeing that video, he was on a mission to try to end that suffering for his child.

It’s worth trying to sign up for a F.A.T. City Workshop or video.  That stands for Frustration, Anxiety and Tension.  You will experience those when you take part. Behind the F.A.T. movement is Richard Lavoie and his transcript is an eye-opener (check it out here). He’s an author, former teacher and current special education specialist with 30 years of experience and continues to consult on learning disabilities.

Lavoie says: “This workshop and video provide teachers, parents, caregivers, and siblings with the opportunity actually to experience the emotions and stresses that children with learning disabilities face daily.

“By using simulations and contrived activities as models (for example, telling a story without using any words that contain the letter N), the participants temporarily experience the frustration, anxiety, and tension that is the lifestyle of students with special needs.”

In the workshop, Lavoie gets parents and educators to sit in a mock class.  They read aloud and do timed spelling and writing activities under crushing pressure.

The Uninformed Teacher

“I play the role of an unforgiving — and uninformed — teacher. I yell, scold, ridicule, interrupt and embarrass. (‘Try harder!’ ‘Pay attention!’, ‘Are you trying to be funny?’, ‘Why can’t you do this?’ ‘Everyone else can.’),” says Lavoie.

He offers this quote from someone with APD:  “It’s like my mind is a television set, but someone else is working the remote control. Sometimes my life just gets all scribbly.”

Where to next

Gemm Learning offers programs to target the development of skills that people with APD need. They can see improvements in just a few months. The average student makes one to two years of reading growth in four to six months.

To find out if we can hep, either take our free reading assessment here or call for a free consult.

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