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Info on Auditory Processing Disorder

FAQ on This Auditory Learning Disability

audio processing disorder causesAlmost 90% of learning difficulties — keeping up in class, reading, homework efficiency — stem from an auditory learning disability, central auditory processing disorder (CAPD or APD), sometimes mis-stated as audio processing disorder.

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 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 (including cochlear implants) 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, music therapies, 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 skill growth heavily influences cognitive development stages. 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

inattentive-add-in-class-with-teacherAuditory 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.

What Is Audio Processing Disorder?

Audio processing disorder is a sometimes used where the speaker is actually referring to auditory processing disorder.

Life with APD Infographic