When a student is having difficulty learning to read and a hearing test reveals that the hearing is within the normal range, Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) or Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) may be the culprit. APD may interfere with a child’s ability to develop phonemic awareness: discriminating, segmenting, blending and substituting sounds in addition to remembering and comprehension.
Children with APD may exhibit a variety of listening and related complaints. For example, they may have difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, following directions, and discriminating (or telling the difference between) similar-sounding speech sounds (Bellis 2016).
What Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is not: A problem with hearing
- the inability to hear sounds or a range of sounds
- a problem with the ear or parts of the ear, such as the inner, middle or outer ear.
What Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is: An uncoordinated relationship between the ears and the nervous system’s ability to fully process sounds and language (Shapiro 2016).
- inability of the brain to decode/encode language
- inability to discriminate between sounds
- inability to listen, understand and communicate language
From Special World (Routley 2016):
Several other disorders share these APD symptoms, which is why it is important for the child to be assessed by experts:
- Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Developmental disorders
APD is a complex disorder to diagnose and a careful and in-depth evaluation of the entire spectrum of issues is necessary. Generally a multi-team approach to treatment is neccessary for diagnosis and treatment; this will involve teachers, psychologists, speech-language pathologists and audiologists (Shapiro 2016).
There are strategies that teachers can use to improve learning outcomes for students who are diagnosed or present with APD:
- reduce background noise during instruction
- combine verbal/written instructions with visuals
- use of assistive technology or tablet/phone apps for note taking, text to speech and speech to text
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
- Catherine Routley (2016). Auditory Processing Disorder. Special World. http://bit.ly/1SsfRnt
- Teri James Bellis. (accessed 2016) Understanding Auditory Processing Disorders in Children. American Speech Language Association website. http://bit.ly/1RvmxMT
- Zhanneta Shapiro (2016). How to Recognize Auditory Processing Disorder. American Speech Language Association. http://bit.ly/1P90kSZ
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