Do you have a child who struggles with understanding auditory information that is given? Maybe you have worked with a child that struggles to differentiate between similar sounds like m and n. Or perhaps you have a child that is often saying or asking, “huh?”  “what?” or “what did you say?” after verbal instructions are given. I know for years as a classroom teacher I had students that fit this profile. At first, I thought that they were just not listening, however, the more I observed them, I realized that their brain was processing that information differently. Over the past three years, I have come to learn that those students most likely had been struggling with Auditory Processing Disorder. 

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD).  It is a specific learning disability that affects 1 in every 20 school-aged children. However, that number may be higher due to a lack of specific diagnosing or misdiagnosing. 

I have worked with many students and their families to get connected to an audiologist for a diagnosis. I also love helping others better understand APD and how to support remediation. It is a difficulty that will affect all areas of a person’s life. In this blog post, I am going to touch on a few of the questions I am frequently asked about Auditory Processing Disorder.

What is APD? 

This is a question I am often asked when consulting with parents. APD is the efficiency and effectiveness that the central auditory nervous system is processing or using the auditory information given. Or in other words what is the brain doing with the auditory information going in. 

What causes APD?

The exact cause of APD is not known. Some research is noting that genetic factors can contribute to the development of APD. Others have noted that premature birth, head trauma, and chronic ear infections can be contributing factors to APD. 

Are there different types of APD?

Yes, there are different types of APD. There are three primary APD diagnoses ingratiation deficit, decoding deficit, and prosody deficit. There are two other sub-types associative deficit and output organization deficit. Here is a quick overview of the three primary types.

  • Integration Deficit: a difficulty with the interhemispheric transfer of auditory information. One way an audiologist described it to me was auditory going in the ear at different rates, going up the brain stem, and then does not sort out properly in the brain. 
  • Decoding Deficit: a difficulty in discriminating the difference with incoming auditory information. Often these learners will have difficulty with phonological processing and phonics. Another area of difficulty is hearing the difference between similar-sounding words. 
  • Prosody Deficit: a difficulty in discriminating subtle cues in language. Examples of this are changes in voice and tone. Often times sarcasm and figurative language is lost on these learners.

Who can it affect?

APD can affect anyone. It is not limited to a particular age group. Dr. Terri Bellis, in her book When the Brain Can’t Hear, breaks down what APD can look like in different stages of life. She also explains how APD can develop later in life through outside influences. 

What are the next steps?

It is extremely important to be evaluated and tested by an audiologist who specializes in Central Auditory Processing Disorders. The treatment for the different types of APD varies. Having the correct and specific diagnosis will lead to better therapy and remediation. If you are needing help finding the right type of audiologist, I can help you get connected to one in your area. 

Will my child struggle forever?

No. There is hope!

I love to offer hope to parents because there is always hope! When APD is diagnosed there are specific therapies that can be done to help rewire the brain. Also, there can be tools given to support the success of someone with APD. This diagnosis is not the end but only the beginning for a learner. 

If you are unsure if you or your child has APD and would like more information, reach out to me. I would love to connect and hear more about the journey. I will get you connected to the right people in order to take the next steps. 

Books I recommend to better understand Auditory Processing Disorder

**These links are Amazon Associate links. This means if you purchase from these links I can earn a small commission.**