Children with auditory processing disorder may exhibit listening and learning difficulty. APD is a complex problem that affects up to 5 percent of school-aged children. These children have normal hearing ability but don’t always understand what the sounds mean. Children with APD do not recognize the differences between sounds in words even when it spoken loud and clear. This problem more likely occurs when the child is in a noisy environment.
No single profession can provide diagnosis, treatment and support to manage APD in children. A multidisciplinary team is needed to understand the problems exhibited by children with APD. An audiologist is needed to administer a series of test to diagnose the processing problem. A pediatrician can help rule out possible cause of disease with the same symptoms. A psychologist will evaluate cognitive functioning and behavioral challenges. An otolaryngologist may help if there is a disorder or disease related to hearing. A special education adviser can observe and assess the child in school.
Parents’ who has a child with APD often had a hard time figuring out their child struggles in school. It’s a kind of relief when their child receives the diagnosis of auditory processing disorder. Just learning the cause of the child’s difficulties is helpful to both parents and child. After the feeling of relief, the parents need information on how to help their child with APD. Much information will be learned from individual consultation with professionals.
Understanding that APD is real and stressful for children will help parents understand what their child is going through. APD is treatable unlike higher order disability like autism and intellectual disabilities. APD is more able to be corrected than some hearing disorder. Because the dysfunction is in the brain, neuroplasticity or the brains’ ability to learn new skills will correct it.
Management Strategies for Parents
• Reduce background noise at home and at school, provide a quiet study place for your kid.
• Teach your kid to be aware of background noise and try to move to a quieter place if possible.
• Have the child be seated at the front of the room with a helpful seatmate.
• Ask your child look at the person he is speaking.
• Use simple, descriptive sentences.
• Ask your child to repeat your instructions once or repeat it until the task is complete
• Simplify multi-step directions by breaking it to parts.
• Speak slowly and at a slightly increased volume
• Offer written instructions or teach your child to write notes.
• Ask your child wear a watch and organize household routine.
• Think before criticizing your child.
There are well-known listening therapies on the market that can help children with Auditory Processing Disorder:
Tomatis Method – is based on the work of French Otolaryngologist Alfred Tomatis. This method assists and accelerates communication, listening skills development and language.
Auditory Integration Training – was developed by otolaryngologist Dr. Guy Berard. AIT helps to rehabilitate auditory system disorder and hearing distortion.
Enlisten – based on Dr. Alfred Tomatis work, this therapy exercised the Voice-Ear-Brain connection. This program trains the ear to distinguish language, music and noise.
The Listening Program – this is a music based auditory stimulation method. It provides brain stimulation that exercises the different areas of the auditory system to improve school performance.
Therapeutic Listening – combines listening therapy and physical activities. TL impacts sensory modulation, behavior and speech difficulties. TL is implemented by a trained therapist.
Samonas Auditory Intervention – sound therapy program that combine sound, music and science. The music is artistically and scientifically structured and customized.
Auditory processing disorder treatments require the involvement of the parents in listening to the music-based program with their kids. But not all parents are willing to commit to this participation saying they are too busy. APD is a real disability, by using the recommended techniques and strategies in speech and listening therapy, parents can help their children grow to be successful adults. If you suspect your child have an APD have him evaluated by an audiologist to perform assessment and discuss the best options available for your child.