How do I know if my child has auditory processing disorder?
Auditory processing disorder (APD) affects the way your child’s brain perceives auditory (relating to the sense of hearing) information. It makes it difficult for your child to understand sounds including spoken words.
Signs that a child may have APD are as follows
- The child gets easily distracted.
- The child is extremely bothered by loud or sudden noises.
- The child gets upset because of a noisy environment.
- The child’s behavior and performance become better when they are in a quieter place.
- The child finds it difficult to follow directions, whether simple or complicated.
- The child has speech-language difficulties with activities like reading, spelling and writing.
- The child does not pick up nursery rhymes or lyrics of a song.
- The child finds it hard to follow conversations or express themselves.
- The child finds verbal or word math problems difficult.
- The child is disorganized or forgetful.
- The child frequently asks people to repeat what they said.
- The child appears to be hearing, but not listening and understanding.
You must remember that these symptoms overlap with behaviors caused by other conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other language or learning disorders. Thus, you must seek your doctor’s help to confirm whether your child has APD.
What is auditory processing disorder?
Auditory processing disorder (APD) is also called central auditory processing disorder (CAPD). The condition affects a person in a way that they cannot process what they hear normally. It is a problem that makes it difficult for a child to understand sounds including spoken words. APD affects about 5% of school-aged children. The affected child may have normal hearing, but they miss many details of what is being said, especially in distracting or noisy places.
Problems in APD occur in a child because their ears and brain do not fully coordinate. There is some perturbation in the way the brain recognizes and interprets sounds, especially speech.
Early diagnosis of this disorder is crucial because with the right therapy, the child can have a healthy and successful life. Delay in the diagnosis of APD can make the child have speech-language delays or learning problems at school and home.
What is the treatment for auditory processing disorder (APD)?
The treatment for auditory processing disorder (APD) is highly individualized and consists of a multipronged approach. The treatment is primarily focused on three main areas
- Changing the learning or communication environment
- Enhancing higher-order skills to help compensate for the disorder
- Treating auditory deficit itself
Your healthcare provider will provide auditory training that involves activities to improve your child’s listening and concentration abilities. Electronic devices such as a wireless earpiece that connects to a small microphone worn by the teacher may be used in schoolchildren to reduce background noises. At school, making the child sit in places such as in the front of the classroom or with their back to the window may help learning and concentration. Study aids such as a tape recorder or notes that can be viewed online may help. Several computer-assisted programs are available to help school kids with this disorder.
At home, you can
- Provide your child with a quiet place to study and learn.
- Talk face-to-face with your child.
- Communicate using simple and expressive sentences.
- Talk to your child by speaking at a slightly slower rate and at a mildly increased volume.
- Make your child repeat the directions back to you and keep repeating them aloud until the directions are completed.
- Ask your child to make notes, wear a watch or maintain a household routine.
- Foster a peaceful and organized lifestyle.
- Help your child maintain good eating and sleeping habits.
- Make your child perform regular and realistic chores, including keeping a clean and organized room and desk.
- Keep motivating your child and help them build self-esteem.
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