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Auditory Processing Disorder and Dyslexia

Why most dyslexic children have APD symptoms

Many parents worry that their child has auditory processing disorder and dyslexia. Two separate learning difficulties that need to be treated separately. Or they fret that the symptoms of dyslexia appear indistinguishable from auditory processing disorder.

The choice in fact is not between auditory processing disorder and dyslexia. In most cases the two conditions exist together because one causes the other.

auditory processing disorder and dyslexiaMany children diagnosed with auditory processing disorder develop a reading disorder or dyslexia. This is because for most dyslexic children, their reading difficulty stems from an underlying language processing difficulty. Lagging phonemic awareness makes b’s and d’s sounds the same.  And so they switch them when reading —  not because they see them the same, but rather because they hear them the same.

APD and Dyslexia Have The Same Source Problem

Reading is a language skill — it requires phonological awareness to be able to break words down into individual sounds and then recognize them in text form. Reading also requires vocabulary and other language knowledge.

Children with auditory processing difficulties tend to have weak phonological awareness skills and struggle with language familiarity — grammar, syntax, vocabulary, articulation — making them at risk readers, often leading to a dyslexia diagnosis.

In short, auditory processing disorder and dyslexia are related in a sequential way. Weak auditory processing skills cause dyslexia symptoms. In fact, one of the best ways clues of dyslexia, a way to distinguish between a normal reading difficulty and dyslexia — a more stubborn reading delay that won’t like resolve itself — is to look for signs of the auditory processing disorder at the source of the dyslexia issue.

How To Help Auditory Processing Disorder & Dyslexia Symptoms

Our recommendation is to start at the source of the problem, by strengthening auditory processing. Gemm Learning uses Fast ForWord software, online with remote oversight. By improving processing efficiency and related working memory and attention skills we expect to:

  • Improve reading fluency
  • Improve reading comprehension, by making decoding efficient
  • Boost language skills, receptive and expressive

Outcomes do vary, but auditory processing disorder and dyslexia are where we have success. Our software-based treatment was founded on the idea that: (1) reading is an auditory processing issue, and (2) the brain can rewire to overcome auditory processing disorder and related dyslexia symptoms.