Understanding Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
Imagine yourself working in an international company, where you come across people with different language accents who are trying to speak your language but in their own way. Would it be easy for you to understand them completely? Wouldn’t you ask them to repeat themselves? This is what happens to people with an underlying auditory concern. In clinical terminology, it is referred to as Auditory Processing Disorder or APD. There isn't enough awareness about APD and unfortunately, this can lead to people with APD being misunderstood or ignored by those around them.
What Is Auditory Processing Disorder
Auditory processing disorder (APD), also known as King-Kopetzky syndrome is an auditory disability in individuals who have normal hearing. It is a neurodevelopment disorder that affects the processing of auditory information passed on to the brain. An individual suffering from APD usually has a normal structure and functioning of an ear like any other individual, however, they cannot hear and process the information in the same way as other individuals. It usually leads to difficulty in recognising & interpreting the sounds, especially the sounds used in composing the speech. However, it is more prevalent in people with other neurodevelopment disorders such as ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism and Sensory processing disorder (SPD). In layman’s language, it is a situation where the hearing ability and brain of an individual do not coordinate properly. This often makes children with APD appear like they are disinterested in studies or socially hesitant
Common features of Auditory Processing Disorder
- Difficulty in hearing speech in noisy environments.
- Difficulty in maintaining attention.
- Problems in locating the source of a sound.
- Difficulty in following directions.
- Commonly asking for information to be repeated.
- Inability to detect subtle changes in tone.
As per the findings it is observed that APD can be found in 3%-5% of school-going children. Children with APD have difficulty in hearing small sounds and can also have poor reading abilities and poor comprehension skills, thereby making it difficult for them to understand any homework or a given task. They are often misunderstood as being inattentive and disinterested in class.
With the right strategies, children with APD can succeed academically and otherwise. As an individual's auditory system isn’t fully developed until the age of 14, it is possible they develop better listening skills as their auditory system fully develops. Treatment can include speech-language therapy, individual therapy, occupational therapy and counselling to develop better self-esteem.
Left undetected, a child with APD will be misunderstood by peers and teachers while being blamed for something they aren’t in control of.
If your child is facing such an issue, do not ignore the signs. With the right help and guidance from a professional, children with APD can beat their challenges. Seek help before it is too late.
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