Auditory processing refers to the brain's ability
to recognize and interpret sounds. A child with
auditory processing disorder often does not
recognize the subtle differences between sounds
in words, even though hearing is normal. Specific
areas of difficulty include;
- Auditory Memory
Children with auditory memory problems may
show difficulty with remembering rote or meaningful
information that they hear. When given information
to listen to, they may show a blank look,
or ask to have a directions repeated.
- Auditory Discrimination
Children with this problem often confuse spoken
sounds like "pig" versus "big",
or "mine" versus "nine."
This is problem becomes especially apparent
when a child begins to read and spell.
- Auditory Attention
A child with this problem will experience
a great deal of difficulty in maintaining
focus when asked to listen. With young children,
sitting and listening to a book during circle
time may be a struggle.
- Auditory Figure-Ground
Children with this problem have a difficult
time in "tuning out" background
noise in order to listen. They may not be
able to follow directions as well when the
television is on, or in a noisy classroom.
- Auditory Cohesion
A child may show difficulty with higher level
listening tasks, such as drawing inferences
from conversations, understanding humor, or
verbal math problems. Because auditory cohesion
is necessary for good conversational "flow"
with others, a child may present as having
a pragmatic or social language disorder.
The cause of APD is usually unknown, but can
be related to other conditions like dyslexia,
attention deficit disorder, developmental delay,
or specific language impairment. Assessment
by a qualified Speech and language pathologist
is instrumental in determining how well your
child can understand and express language and
process sound. Audiologists, who are trained
in this particular disorder, typically collaborate
with the speech and language pathologist, in
order to determine the best course of action
for a child.