Auditory Processing Disorder

The misunderstood disorder that can take its toll on learning

What is Auditory Processing Disorder? (APD)

Auditory Processing refers to ‘what we do with what we hear’. Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) refers to an inability to make optimal use of what we hear and affects 3% -5% of the population – about one child in every classroom.

Whilst APD is not the result of language, cognitive or related disorders, it may lead to, or be associated with difficulties in language, learning and communication skills.

A child with auditory processing difficulties can hear spoken messages, but may not be able to make sense of what they hear.  As a result children with APD experience associated language and listening difficulties which may include difficulties in the following areas:

  • listening in noisy environments
  • understanding and following instructions
  • remembering information they have heard
  • learning to read, write and spell

I’m concerned my child may have APD – what should I do?

If your child is six or older, book in for an assessment with a qualified paediatric audiologist at Can:Do Hearing. Our audiologists will firstly examine your child’s peripheral hearing to rule out the possibility of a hearing loss (permanent or temporary). On some occasions we will recommend a child waiting until they are seven to be tested.

What happens in an APD assessment?

Assessment is a detailed process where we develop an understanding of your child’s history and medical background – so we ask parents/caregivers and teachers to fill out a questionnaire. If your child has seen any other health professionals (eg speech pathologist or psychologist), we’ll ask to see an overview of any assessments.

Can:Do Hearing paediatric audiologists use this information to determine which tests are suitable for each child’s needs and abilities.  We provide very comprehensive assessments, results and recommendations.

What happens if my child is diagnosed with APD?

Can:Do Hearing recommends the following treatment:

  1. Working with your child’s school on classroom strategies to maximise your child’s learning
  2. Use of FM and Soundfield Systems. With these systems, your child’s teacher wears a microphone which sends a signal to your child’s ear via a receiver, enabling your child to hear the teacher’s voice more clearly – especially in the noisy classroom environment
  3. Referral to other professionals such as a Speech Pathologist trained in APD therapy for specific training.
  4. Computer based programs developed in line with scientific research – such as the LISN & learn auditory training program developed by NAL (National Acoustic Laboratories) Cameron & Dillon

Please note APD may also coexist with other disorders (for example, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD], language impairment, and learning disabilities) and in these cases careful diagnosis is required as part of a multidisciplinary team.

With more than 140 years’ expertise in supporting children and young people with sensory challenges, you’re in safe hands with Can:Do Hearing and Can:Do 4Kids. Contact us today on (08) 8100 8209 or to book an appointment or to find out more.