When people think of communication or learning disorders, they typically focus on the ability to produce and understand language. However there are some issues that can impact communication that aren’t purely linguistic. One of these is auditory processing disorder.
Auditory processing disorder, (APD; also called central auditory processing disorder—CAPD) impacts the central nervous system’s ability to process auditory information. This means that even though hearing isn’t impaired, the brain has trouble coordinating and understanding sound. This makes it difficult for a child with APD to process what they hear, especially in unfavorable listening conditions (e.g., in the presence of background noise).
Since children do much of their learning through listening, APD can be a significant problem for both academic and social success. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify a child with an auditory processing disorder. Here are a few of the signs that a child might be having difficulty processing auditory input:
- Difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments
- Trouble following directions, especially when there’s no visual support (e.g., gesture or pictures)
- Problems telling the difference between speech sounds that are similar to one another (e.g., ssss and shhh)
- Repeatedly asking for repetition or clarification on spoken information
- Difficulty with spelling, reading, and understanding information presented verbally in the classroom. Academic performance is often notably better in situations which don’t require listening.
One of the issues that makes APD so difficult to spot is these symptoms overlap with many other learning and communication disorders. However, a formal assessment by an audiologist can help tease these issues apart. If you think that your child may have difficulty with auditory processing, make an appointment with a certified audiologist right away to have a full assessment completed.
If your child is diagnosed with CAPD, a speech-language pathologist can be an important part of the team helping your child communicate in the most effective way possible. Check in with us again next week when we’ll talk about how speech-language therapy can help a child with APD!
If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give us a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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