• Judith Kamau

Auditory Processing Disorder - How to Recognise it in Your Child

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

Key Points

  • Why do students struggle with reading and learning?

  • What's causing these issues?

  • What does research say about processing, and its role in literacy?

  • How does that impact, what the kids are learning to read and to do?

  • What can we do to help the students out, and can make a difference for them?

  • Fast ForWord home and specific programs that can help your students or children.


First of all. Why do the students struggle with reading and learning? What's going on that's causing these issues and what does research say about processing. And its role in literacy how does that impact, what the kids are learning to read and to do? I also want to know, what can we do about it? That's always the bottom line. What can we do to help the students out, and can make a difference for them?

So, first of all, let's look at the clues. What helps us know what kind of danger are we looking for, to determine whether a child or a young person maybe in our classroom has an auditory processing issue. Well, here's a pretty common thing.

Some of the obvious signs are.

1) The child misunderstands a lot of what is said so maybe you're Talking at home at dinner if you're a parent. And your child misunderstands a couple of things that are said and totally missed what the family is talking about at dinner.

Or maybe the classroom a teacher might be presenting information about something and the students go to totally different direction. Completely misunderstand what is said and so really isn't queued into what is happening.

2) There are the children who ask for things to be repeated frequently they might say huh or what a lot they might give us a slow or delayed response. To the point that you might think they're not even going to respond at all. For example, I had a student years ago who would raise his hand to answer questions which was great I was thrilled that he was participating. There was a problem. He was answering a question that I had asked 5 to 10 minutes prior to where we currently were in the discussion. It took him that long to process that question and formulate a response. So not only was he delayed in responding to that first question.

3) He missed everything else what happened after that point because he was focused on that one item. These children and young people also often are the ones who have difficulty with multi- step directions as some of these kids can be passive, they give her a quiet and withdrawn when others are talking and they don't seem to engage. But if you think about it that makes a lot of sense. Because if they can't keep on track with the discussion. They're not going to be the ones

that jump in to participate.

3) It makes it much more difficult for those to really engage especially in rapid fire discussions. So, in school teachers often report similar things to parents and the student may have a blank stare and need questions repeated or statements repeated. They respond with a lot of I don't know kind of comments. And these are the students who tune out a lot and that's the key piece.

5) Auditory information is difficult for them. It goes too quickly, it's too complex and they have trouble perceiving and holding on to information. So, when listening is hard what do you naturally do? You tune out. So, if any of you and taking a college course or maybe some kind of extended learning course that was a little bit over your head you might know what I'm talking about. Teachers talking away and you are kind of thinking, what is this I don't understand I wish the professor would slow down. And in that situation, you might just fade out and tune out and just think it's too hard. I just I just can't keep up with this. And that's what we see with auditory processing issue.

6) Some of you also may see that your student has trouble with phonics, reading, spelling

7) We even have some students who act out. School is frustrating, they are good listeners, it’s hard to pay attention and they've discovered that if they caused just a little disruption in class or a big disruption, then they don't have to try to listen anymore. So sometimes we see unexplained Behavior problems for students who generally have been pretty compliant in school.

Teachers often are especially attuned to language base problem. Because they'll see the impact on other academic areas. They know that a child who can't follow what's going on in class or can't participate is going to have academic problems and other subjects. Particularly in the elementary years when most classroom instruction depends on processing what the teacher is talking about, or those spoken words.

8) Children with language problems tend to fall behind in lots of subjects and not build the foundation they're going to need for later years in school. So, for a child with language problems, math gets harder when you got story problems science gets harder when you have to read an article from the library. Any subject gets harder when you're expected to do a presentation in class. Because it's just a challenge to have to process the information and get up and talk about.

What areas are you most concerned about with your child? Is it homework, does it take too long, it's a struggle, it's a huge fight, it's just too hard? Or is it more about reading are they struggling with that fluency, comprehension and decoding pieces. Do they have trouble with writing, organizing their ideas, putting their thoughts into words and doing that properly with correct spelling? Or do they have trouble with math those math facts having those memorized or maybe it's the story problems that they struggle with.

So, we can see exactly what's going on with a lot of these kids. Some people say a little bit of everything. Even for questions about adult auditory processing so score. That's still applied to a lot of these things as well. You are going to see a lot of commonality between students in and adults. I think we've had time for people to make a selection and click submit.

So it looks like the biggest area of focus is in the area of a reading and we're going to get into that, and talk about exactly what's going on with students with auditory processing issues and reading the impact that had.

The next highest win, it looks like his writing, which you know those are tied in together. Just different sides of the same coin so to speak. Math word problems remembering facts those kinds of things. As well as getting homework done, always a struggle. With that homework is hard to do.

In relation to reading since that was the number one topic, why would language and reading of problems co-occur with these auditory processing issues?

Early Development The first thing we have to understand is that if a child has a lot of cold when they're young. They're going to have fluid in their middle ear during the time that the brain is setting up for those speech sounds when is creating the maps for listening to speech sounds.

So, each of the Sounds in the English language or in any language maps to the brain so if I can't process those sounds clearly because of the fluid in my ear. Then I'm not going to get a good clear map for each of the phonemes or sounds of the language this also happens when a child has a lot of ear infections in those first few years because of clear speech signals are not getting into the brain effectively and the sound isn't going through the ears very well so we're not getting a good mapping again.

Some issues run in families, maybe you had a family member or two who had trouble learning language they had trouble building listening skills or maybe had trouble learning to decode when they were learning to read. So that can be a genetic influence it could be a predisposition to have some difficulty with perceiving those speech sound and tying the sound to words and meaning for language and then later for reading.

Sometime children are just a fifth child in the family and Mom and Dad work and there just isn't a whole lot of time for them to talk to read to or work with that particular child, or group of children. And that especially happens that date today, and with the economy and busy home lives and just so much going on.

It's just difficult to find time to sit down and read or work individually with each child.

And then there are other things that we probably don't even think about unknown factors that might influence such as

Maybe if you live near a factory or a lot of road noise or anything that we interfere with the development of the sound maps in the brain all those kinds of things can have an impact. So, the bottom line is that these children often have difficulty processing language sounds clearly and effectively from an early age. It may carry through all the way to adulthood, but it starts in the very early developmental stages.

And that means that they're going to perceive sounds incorrectly in those early years, so they're going to practice them correctly. And that's going to build faulty sound patterns in the brain. And that's what we want to change that in the brain.

So, let's think about, Those auditory processing issues. And why that would lead to a language and reading problem and so we're going to look at what the brain has to do to perceive or hear speech sounds. So, this is a visual representation a speech map or physical characteristics of speech sounds.

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