What is an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)?
Auditory processing problems can be defined as the inability or decreased ability to make efficient use of auditory information, in other words, poor listening skills. Children with disordered auditory skills (APD) may exhibit a reduced ability to attend to, remember, or understand information they hear. They may not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words. In order to learn in school via the auditory channel, a child needs the ability to:
For a child with an auditory processing disorder, learning in the classroom environment, where noise and visual distractions can be constant, may become extremely difficult. If an auditory processing disorder remains undiagnosed and untreated, such a problem may persist, resulting in poor communication skills throughout adulthood. What many people don’t realize is that the problem is more related to poor information processing than hearing. In fact, most people with auditory processing disorder have normal intelligence and normal hearing sensitivity.
Specialized audiological testing evaluates the different areas of auditory function such as:
These auditory processing skills are the foundation for successful academic and social success.
Therapeutic approaches for management of auditory processing disorder may include:
The highest use of our auditory processing skills comes when they are used to process language (oral and written). Normal development of receptive/expressive oral language and reading skills is largely dependent on effective auditory processing abilities. Therefore, a comprehensive approach to APD management requires analysis of language processing skills development.
Understanding what we hear and read, and speaking and writing effectively, are uniquely human communication skills. Developing effective language skills is essential to learning, working, and enjoying family and social life with peers. When a child or adult cannot understand the language code, there is a Receptive problem. If an individual does not know enough language rules to verbally share thoughts, ideas and feelings completely, then there is an Expressive problem.
Language is a code made up of rules that include:
A comprehensive language evaluation utilizes standardized diagnostic tools, clinical observation, parent/family and teacher interviews to assess the following:
What can be done for language processing skills deficits related to APD?
We provide comprehensive auditory and language processing assessments to evaluate the causes of these communication difficulties. We then follow up with an intervention plan customized to address deficits from a “Bottom Up” (Auditory Processing) and “Top Down” (Language Processing) approach. This approach allows us to treat the specific ways in which auditory information is refined, modified and organized as it travels from the ear upward toward the higher language processing brain centers. Therapy is also offered to strengthen the overreaching linguistic skills needed for comprehension, memory, and recall of what is heard and read. The therapy program we recommend and techniques we use encompass:
We follow best practice techniques recommended by the American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association, to provide evidenced based and effective treatment. A home program for use by parents/teachers may also be created to ensure appropriate carry-over of target skills into the child’s daily school, social and home life. Throughout treatment, major emphasis is placed on building and maintaining a child’s self-esteem and confidence.
Dr. Rebecca Anderson, Doctor Of Audiology, Speech Language Pathologist
Rebecca Anderson, Au.D. is a licensed audiologist and speech-language pathologist certified by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. Dr. Anderson holds a Master of Arts degree in audiology from Michigan State University, and a Doctor of Audiology degree from AT Still University in Mesa Arizona. For over 30 years, Dr. Anderson has provided services in a variety of settings including physician offices, rehabilitation clinics, university clinics, hospitals, schools,and private practice. She has developed special expertise in diagnostic assessment of auditory processing disorders (APD) as well as in design and implementation of individualized auditory training and language therapeutic intervention programs for children and adults with language and/or auditory processing difficulties.