In this episode, we discuss the ins and outs of auditory processing disorder (APD). Guest Dr. Lilach Saperstein noted that APD occurs when the brain can’t properly pick out what is important to hear vs what is noise. APD is more likely to occur in children that have other disorders, such as ADHD or autism, although another possible contributing factor is chronic ear infections between 0-3 years of age. Diagnosis is typically only made starting at age 7, but can be screened starting at age 5.
APD presents differently in each child. Common signs include inattention, not answering to their name, constantly saying “what,” “I didn’t hear you,” “did you call me?,” needing to repeat things to the child, the child not being engaged to sounds around them when it is noisy or busy but attends when it is quiet, and the child experiencing frustration in communicating. Before being diagnosed with APD, one must have had ruled out hearing difficulties and ADHD. It is strongly recommended that a child also have a psychoeducational evaluation, speech and language evaluation, and a medical checkup, and the audiologist will also gather information from the teacher and parent. Although only audiologists can diagnose APD, speech therapists most typically do the treatment.
Dr. Saperstein provided the following tips for managing APD:
Tips: Visual cues along with auditory cues
Visual schedules for routines
One direction at a time
Repeat information back verbatim
FM system in the classroom (mic to kid’s ear)
Learning an instrument
Preferential seating near front of the room, near the teacher
Pre-teaching key words of the lesson
Play Simon says (start slow, then speed up instructions)
Play chicken dance that gets faster and faster
Copy the beat
Written communication at school and work
Accommodations in the office
Listening to audio books and podcasts (slow down or speed up playback speed)
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