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Auditory Processing disorder

(9 Posts)
cheeryface Tue 28-Jun-11 10:50:29

Have read up on what it is online but can anyone enlighten me furthur as in how it effects your ds or dd in real life iyswim

what were the symptoms or signs that led to being diagnosed ?

thanks smile

chocjunkie Tue 28-Jun-11 10:55:39

dolfrog is a bit of an expert on apd. he has written quite extensively on apd on here. maybe you can run a search for his posts?

dolfrog Tue 28-Jun-11 17:55:13


APD is a listening disability or not being able to process what you hear.
Our eldest was the first in our family to be diagnosed as having APD back in 1998. Thing s have vastly improved since then regarding the awareness of what APD is, and the diagnostic process and procedures have improved immensely.

So those who have APD have a listening problem, which can mean problems following conversations, following verbal instructions, processing the meaning of other sound sources of information.
APDS have word recall problems, finding the right word when needed, and poor sequencing skills.
APD tends to fist appear for many in delayed acquisition of speech, as we problems processing what is said to us so that we can reprocess that information as our own speech, and we tend to only reproduce the whole sound of a word and not the so called sounds that make up a word.
APD is a cause of the auditory cognitive subtype of developmental dyslexia

APDs are not able to use phonics to learn to read, as we are not able to process the so called sound that make up a word so we are not able to understand the graphic symbols used to represent those sounds which go to make up a word. We have match the whole sound of a word to the whole shape of the written word.

APD has a genetic origin, so is inherited from at least one biological parent, or in children it can be acquired resulting from ear infections such as Otitis Media with Effusion (Glue Ear). Children who have genetic issues such as Downs syndrome can have a lack of natural immunity against issues such as Otitis Media which can cause them to acquire APD.

The Medical Research Council estimate that 10% of children have some degree of APD. APDUK have published 7 newsletters which can be downloaded as pdf files and include contributions fro m interested professionals, the experience of those who have APD of all ages, and two artilces reulting from an online research program "How APD affects Adults"

APD needs to be assessed and diagnosed by a multi discipline diagnostic team made up of an audiologist, speech and language pathologists and a psychologist. You will need the results from a recent hearing test, and a GP referal to the nearest APD assessment centre, there was only Great Ormond Street Hospital, but new centres are becoming available.

sickofsocalledexperts Tue 28-Jun-11 18:58:18

Dolfrog - what are the differences from autism, where of course language delay and / or verbal dyspraxia are also common first signs?
My boy has real problems keeping words sorted out in his mind - eg he just cannot get the difference between "light on" and "light off". I have wondered about APD.

dolfrog Tue 28-Jun-11 21:36:45


This is one of the murkier areas, which many try to avoid and if I had any sense so should I.

ASD is a diagnosis based on observed behavior criteria, and researchers are still trying to establish the underlying cognitive issues which can contribute to or cause the triggers of the observed behaviors, and one group of candidate factors are the sensory information processing disorders. And auditory processing disorder is one a sound information processing disorder. And as such APD could be one of the many contributing causes of ASD.

Those who have APD, will have a poor auditory memory, which causes word recall problems, and the Auditory part of the brain is also linked in to the sequencing part of the brain, so most who have APD also have poor sequencing skills. All you have any from of information processing deficit will by human nature try to develop alternative compensating coping strategies to work around the identified processing deficit (this will happen at a very young age). Coping strategies have to be run like programs on a computer in the Working Memory (our short term memories) which like the RAM of a computer has limited capacity. We prioritise how we use our working memories subconsciously. Coping strategies can take priority over other daily programs such as self organisation, but takes second place to stress or illness. We are not able to switch our coping strategies on and off like alight switch when needed, it is more about anticipating what will happen tomorrow, and the more routine life is the more likely our coping strategies will be in place to help us cope. Most of our compensating coping strategies tend to be visual reading body language and lipreading to best guess to fill in the auditory processing gaps to try to make sense of a conversation or lecture etc.

Finally what this has been leading up to lol. When those who have APD are trying to hold a serious conversation, and are trying to contribute by speaking the whole focus of the working memory is focused on finding the correct words or if not finding an alternative form of words, and trying to get the words out in the correct order. Almost every other working memory function is shut down, so we are not able to multi task, we are not best able to process visually how others may be responding to what we may be saying, and we may loose control of the volume of our voices. When we have made out point or stop speaking we revert back to our visually receptive selves, which is one of our main coping strategies. During these types of episodes some have been described as being Aspergerish.

APD can also mimic ADHD, it is not about our ability to concentrate but about our ability to process what we hear and trying not to loose the plot.

I hope that helps

kissingfrogs Tue 28-Jun-11 22:07:28

Very interesting to read about the coping strategies and what happens during serious conversation.

Dd2 (mild-moderate HI) has now had it officially in writing that she has an additional SLI. From what you have described I'd be more inclined to say her language difficulties could be due to APD.

Is it always the case that children with APD can only learn by the whole word approach? Even with intensive phonics instruction? I ask because my dd2 (6) had daily phonics instruction and is now a very good reader (admitedly after 2 years of it).

dolfrog Tue 28-Jun-11 23:07:27


regardless of which teaching program is used if something is repeated often enough our memory and imitation skills will pick most things up.
The problems for those who have APD is new words, and not being able to phonetically sound out new words.
Those who have APD have problems processing the gaps between sounds, this includes the gaps between the sounds which can make up a word, and even the gap between words in rapid speech. Not being able to process the gap between sounds means the brain perceives the two or multiple sounds as one long blurred sound.
Most APDs learn to speak by re processing or reproducing the whole sound of a word. And so when they learn to use the graphic symbols we use to represent speech we can only match the whole sound of a word to the whole shape of the graphic symbols used to represent a word. Eventually through repetition of the sound of the word and seeing its graphic representation or the written word we can make the necessary accosiations, regardless of t he teaching method used. But the child will feel a failure because it took so long, and because they know that they can not do things as others had explained and expected them to do, and the next set of new words will cause the same problems, usually when they move from primary to secondary school or secondary school to college or university when the vocabulary used changes. I still have problems with new words, and especially new names, can be embarrassing at times.

Using a whole word or visual approach to teaching APDs to read will match how they will cope with remembering words by sight and shape, not ideal but that it what we have to do to work around our disability.

kissingfrogs Wed 29-Jun-11 00:00:42

Thanks Dolfrog. I'm always exploring for ways to understand my dd2's hearing/language difficutlies - complex when there's a HI combined with SLI. Some of her language problems are typical of those with mild HI, some are more typical of those with profound loss, and then again some are in another catagory unknown. Her TOD suspects a processing disorder such as APD.

It's very interesting to be able to speak to people like yourself who have experienced communication difficulties as you can explain what my child can not.

cheeryface Wed 29-Jun-11 10:32:19

thanx for the info

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