Auditory Processing Disorder

Young boy listening to a friend talking into his hear, demonstrating symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder.Adversely affects how sound that travels unimpeded through the ear is processed and interpreted by the brain.

Also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder, individuals with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even when the sounds are loud and clear enough to be heard. They can also find it difficult to tell where sounds are coming from, to make sense of the order of sounds, or to block out competing background noises.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Has difficulty processing and remembering language-related tasks but may have no trouble interpreting or recalling non-verbal environmental sounds, music, etc.
  • May process thoughts and ideas slowly and have difficulty explaining them
  • Misspells and mispronounces similar-sounding words or omits syllables; confuses similar-sounding words (celery/salary; belt/built; three/free; jab/job; bash/batch)
  • May be confused by figurative language (metaphor, similes) or misunderstand puns and jokes; interprets words too literally
  • Often is distracted by background sounds/noises
  • Finds it difficult to stay focused on or remember a verbal presentation or lecture
  • May misinterpret or have difficulty remembering oral directions; difficulty following directions in a series
  • Has difficulty comprehending complex sentence structure or rapid speech
  • “Ignores” people, especially if engrossed
  • Says “What?” a lot, even when has heard much of what was said

Strategies

  • Show rather than explain
  • Supplement with more intact senses (use visual cues, signals, handouts, manipulatives)
  • Reduce or space directions, give cues such as “ready?”
  • Reword or help decipher confusing oral and/or written directions
  • Teach abstract vocabulary, word roots, synonyms/antonyms
  • Vary pitch and tone of voice, alter pace, stress key words
  • Ask specific questions as you teach to find out if they do understand
  • Allow them 5-6 seconds to respond (“think time”)
  • Have the student constantly verbalize concepts, vocabulary words, rules, etc.

Excerpted from the LDA of California and UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute “Q.U.I.L.T.S.” Calendar 2001-2002