Students with auditory processing disorder (APD) can't process the information they hear in the same way as others because their ears and brain don't fully coordinate.
Kids with APD often have difficulty recognizing subtle differences between sounds in spoken words, even when the sounds are loud and clear enough to be heard. This usually happens when there's background noise, like in a typical classroom. In addition, loud or sudden noises can easily distract or bother students with APD.
Kids with APD, which is also known as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), have normal hearing. APD may be confused with certain learning disabilities or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), though it is also possible to have APD as well as language impairments, learning disabilities, or ADHD.
Five main problem areas can affect students with APD:
If the auditory deficits aren't identified and managed, many students with APD will face academic challenges.
Students with APD can benefit from working with a speech and language therapist, in addition to getting regular evaluations by audiologists.
It's important to understand that APD is an auditory issue and not a cognitive, speech, or language disorder. Your student may feel embarrassed to let you know he or she did not understand what you said or directions you gave.
Speaking clearly, making sure students with APD write down the assignments, and helping them stay organized may ease their frustration and boost their self-esteem in the classroom.
Teachers also can help students with APD by:
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: May 2014
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