Auditory Processing Disorder Q & A
Q: My daughter was diagnosed with auditory processing disorder over two years ago. With remediation, her grades have been rising and her teachers have been noting a marked improvement in her listening skills. We are thrilled with this academic improvement, but we have been seriously struggling with her listening at home. With auditory processing disorder, is there remediation for the home?
A: This is something I often encounter in my office: children with auditory processing disorder (APD) who show vast improvements at school, but are continuing to struggle in the home. Fortunately, there are multiple things you can do to make life easier for you and for your child with APD.
First, let’s just quickly describe auditory processing disorder. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders explains:
Children with APD often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even though the sounds themselves are loud and clear. For example, the request “Tell me how a chair and a couch are alike” may sound to a child with APD like “Tell me how a couch and a chair are alike.” It can even be understood by the child as “Tell me how a cow and a hair are alike.” These kinds of problems are more likely to occur when a person with APD is in a noisy environment or when he or she is listening to complex information.
Children with auditory processing difficulty typically have normal hearing and intelligence. However, they have also been observed to:
- Have trouble paying attention to and remembering information presented orally
- Have problems carrying out multi-step directions
- Have poor listening skills
- Need more time to process information
- Have low academic performance
- Have difficulty with reading, comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary
If things are falling into place in school because of remediation, what can you do at home in order to make things easier in your own household?
Blame the disorder, not the person. When your daughter does not listen to you, try not to respond to her by saying “I am so frustrated when you don’t listen to me.” Instead, express your anger at the disorder itself by saying, “It’s difficult for me when your auditory processing disorder makes it so hard for you to hear what I am saying.” Your daughter can agree with you – as it is hard for her too. This way, you can be allies against APD, instead of battling each other.
Let the punishment fit the crime. Teri James Bellis of LDonline, a website devoted to learning disabilities, suggests trying to avoid the roller coaster of praising the person with APD for good listening one minute, then rejecting him for poor listening the next. If a child does something that is unacceptable, address that behavior accordingly. Do not take away a reward previously earned for good behavior.
Deemphasize auditory behavior. Everyone has misunderstandings every now and then. Don’t pay attention to every mistake your daughter makes. Instead, let some of them slide the way you would let some misunderstandings go with your husband or your other children.
Don’t give up! With time and proper help, your daughter will improve at home just as she has been improving at school.
Register now for a Mindsets and ADHD workshop by Dr. Robert Brooks on November 13, 2018. Please call Mrs. Schonfeld at 718-382-5437 for more information.