8 Signs Your Child May Have an Auditory Processing Disorder

by | Jun 26, 2023 | Auditory Processing | 0 comments

As parents and educators, it is crucial to understand the various challenges children face in their learning journey. One obstacle parents often struggle to detect is Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).

What is Auditory Processing Disorder?

APD affects how the brain processes auditory information, leading to difficulties in listening, understanding, and communicating effectively. To help you make the best possible decisions for your child, this article explores the common symptoms associated with APD and how to identify this disorder in children.

While there are many symptoms, the following eight are the most common and are the best indicators of APD.

What Are the Auditory Processing Disorder Symptoms?

Recognising the signs of APD is crucial for early intervention and support. If you notice several of the following symptoms persistently in your child, it is advisable to consult an audiologist for a comprehensive evaluation:

  • Frequent difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments
  • Consistent struggle with reading, spelling, or comprehension skills
  • Inability to follow verbal instructions accurately
  • Persistent challenges in filtering out background noise and staying focused
  • Difficulties with musical tasks or rhythm perception
  • Misunderstanding or mishearing conversations regularly

Auditory Processing Disorders can significantly impact a child’s academic performance, social interactions, and overall well-being. By familiarising ourselves with the symptoms associated with APD, we can take proactive steps to identify and address this disorder in children. Early detection and appropriate interventions, such as auditory training with an audiologist, will significantly affect your child’s communication and functioning.

Poor Listening Behaviour

One of the most common auditory processing disorder symptoms children experience includes poor listening behaviour, such as appearing inattentive or easily distracted during conversations or classroom activities. They may struggle to focus on the speaker, leading to misunderstandings and missed instructions.

Reading and Spelling Difficulties

Auditory Processing Disorders can significantly impact a child’s reading and spelling abilities. Children with APD may have trouble distinguishing similar sounds or phonemes, making it difficult to decode words and identify spelling patterns. As a result, they may experience delays in reading and spelling development compared to their peers.

Mishearing Communication

Children with APD often mishear or misunderstand what others are saying. They may struggle to differentiate between similar-sounding words, causing confusion and hindering effective communication. Consequently, they may respond inappropriately or provide irrelevant answers to questions.

Difficulty with Comprehension

Comprehension challenges are another hallmark of Auditory Processing Disorders. Children with this disorder may have difficulty understanding and retaining verbal information. They might struggle to follow complex sentences or directions, leading to confusion and frustration. This can impact their academic performance and overall learning experience.

Distractibility and Inattention

Children with APD may exhibit increased distractibility and inattention, particularly in noisy or crowded environments. They may find it challenging to filter out background noises, which can impede their ability to focus on critical auditory cues. Consequently, they may miss crucial information and struggle to stay engaged in conversations or classroom activities.

Difficulty Following Instructions

Following instructions accurately is crucial for a child’s academic success and daily functioning. However, another one of the most common auditory processing disorder symptoms is struggling to follow precise instructions. They might struggle to process and remember multi-step instructions, leading to incomplete or incorrect task completion.

Poor Musical Skills

Auditory processing skills play a vital role in musical development. Children with APD may struggle with rhythm, pitch discrimination, and other aspects of musical comprehension. They may struggle to sing or play instruments in tune or have difficulty following musical patterns.

Difficulty Understanding the Intent of a Conversation

Children with APD often face challenges in understanding the nuances and intent behind verbal communication. They may struggle with non-literal language, humour, sarcasm, or figurative expressions. This can result in misinterpretations and difficulties in forming appropriate social connections.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Treatment for Auditory Processing Disorder?

Working with an audiologist to improve the auditory deficit involves identifying the specific auditory deficits that the individual with APD is experiencing and developing a treatment plan to address those deficits. Auditory training is one such intervention that directly improves the function of the affected auditory process(es).

Is There an Auditory Processing Disorder Test?

Yes, tests are available to diagnose Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). During the APD evaluation, a battery of tests designed to assess auditory processing abilities is administered to evaluate, diagnose, and formulate intervention strategies for persons suspected of having auditory processing disorders.

These tests require listeners to attend to various auditory signals including tones, sounds and words. The specific tests selected depend on the listener’s age, the referring complaint, test reliability and validity, and the specific auditory process assessed by each test.

An audiologist can test for auditory processing disorders starting as soon as concerns are raised, which can be as young as 3,6 years. Only an audiologist can truly assess the disconnect in the central auditory system. Online tests are not a substitute for a professional evaluation by an audiologist.