Saturday, March 9, 2013

What to Do When You Suspect Auditory Processing Problems

(Last week’s article:BEST Tips for Auditory Processing Challenges)

Auditory processing disorder (APD), also known as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), is a complex problem affecting approximately 5% of school-aged children in the U.S. These children are unable to process the information they hear in the same way as others because their ears and brain don't fully coordinate. Something adversely affects the way the brain recognizes and interprets sounds, most notably the sounds composing speech.

If you notice or suspect that your child is struggling with hearing or a processing issue, the best person to give you medical advice or an appropriate referral is your child’s pediatrician. Receiving good care means having the opportunity to talk personally with the doctor who knows your child, who knows you and can ask you questions, can conduct a preliminary exam to screen for physiological hearing issues, and/or provide a good referral. The pediatrician can help guide you and your child to the qualified medical professionals and other experts in physical, emotional and behavioral issues when needed.

If further evaluation is necessary, your child’s pediatrician will refer your child and you to an otolaryngologist, a physician who specializes in treating the ear, nose, and throat. When visiting this specialist, he or she will perform a more comprehensive hearing examination. Depending on the specialist's office staff, additional tests may be conducted in the office or a referral might be given to one or more of the following medical professionals for further evaluation:

For Auditory Processing Issues

An audiologist is the preferred professional to test for auditory processing. A series of tests are given to stress the system by compromising the auditory signal. He examines how well the auditory system uses or interprets the information the ear sends it.

For Phonemic Processing Challenges

Phonemic processing is usually tested by an audiologist and a speech-language pathologist (SLP). These medical professionals examine the discrimination of phonemic characteristics of the signal.

For Language/Linguistic Processing Problems

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) is the medical professional who tests for language/linguistic processing. She examines the acoustic integrity of the signal and evaluates the functional discrimination of the acoustic signal. The third area of assessment for the SLP should be in the area of "language processing," or the ability to use the linguistic code to attach meaning to the acoustic signal.

Preliminary Checklist for Auditory Processing Difficulties

__Difficulty following oral directions; inconsistent responses
__Short, auditory attention span; fatigues easily
__Poor short/long term memory
__Daydreams, appears not to listen
__Difficulty hearing with background
__Difficulty localizing sounds
__Academic and/or speech & language problems
__Disruptive behaviors; impulsive, frustrated
__Requests repetition; frequently asks "huh?"
__History of ear infections

Resources to Help:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Website
Visit the following website to locate a certified audiologist or speech/language pathologist in your area, or contact the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) at 1-800-638-8255 for this information.

Redefining Auditory Processing Disorder: A Speech-Language Pathologist's Perspective---by Gail Richard

Introduction to Auditory Processing Disorders
FREE downloadable PDF file that provides an overview of APD and the appropriate medical professionals to consult regarding the condition.

VIDEO-Auditory Processing Disorder in Kids---from Web MD

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of: Lexercise at

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