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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Theraputic Listening and Auditory Processing Problems

Sorry for the long absence.  Life with six kids, three book clubs, Spelling Team, choir, preparation for First Confession, American Heritage Girls, Boy Scouts and homeschooling has kept me plenty busy.  I'm happy to say we are on track with our school work (week 14) and we are looking forward to our school break during Christmas.

Now, on to the topic at hand.  Katherine Bowman, a Speech and Language Pathologist has this to say about Auditory Processing Disorder:
An auditory processing disorder (APD or CAPD) is a disorder in “how” auditory information is processed in the brain. It can be thought of as a “listening disorder” not a hearing disorder. The problem is in the brain – not in the ear.

The symptoms of APD are extremely varied, however, some of the most common are:
  • Children who say “huh” or “what” frequently
  • Children who don’t look or respond when their name is called
  • Children who give slow or delayed responses to people talking to them
  • Children who mispronounce typical word sounds
  • Children who have difficulty following oral directions
  • Children who misunderstand what is asked or said to them …these children usually answer off topic or don’t answer at all.
  • Children who are easily distracted or become confused especially when there is background noise
  • Children who avoid loud noises (cover their ears) even around common household noises
  • Children who show delays in acquiring language
  • Children who evidence difficulty learning phonics, reading and spelling
Symptoms of APD can actually be seen in infancy, however, they usually become noticed at about age 18-24 months.

APD can not be formally diagnosed by an audiologist until age 7 years, when the auditory system has maturated (fully developed). However, by age 5 speech-language pathologists, audiologists and/or psychologists can administer a sound based screening test along with auditory based language tests and determine if the child is “at risk” or “showing signs of APD.” 

I believe that one of my children is experiencing auditory processing problems.  Said child has difficulty hearing certain sounds in words (phonetic awareness) as well as reproducing certain words.  Mispronunciation is a common indicator of this problem.  It also will manifest itself in their ability to spell and read.  Attention issues, due to auditory distraction, can show up as well.

I used this program as part of an Occupational Therapy program with my oldest two.  My son's inability to see properly affected all his senses.  It heightened his sensitivities such that he was having  a hard time functioning in the world.  Everything was too loud, too smelly, too itchy-scratchy-twisted-wrinkled-hurt.  My daughter has a food sensitivity that was affecting her as well.  She probably didn't need the therapy, but she wasn't going to let him do anything without her

The logic behind the program seemed sound to me, so we decided to make the tremendous investment and use it.  We saw results right away.  It was astounding, but like all OT and Vision Therapy programs, it took diligence.  The child needed to listen to the program at least half an hour a day, five days a week for eight weeks.

The program we used was The Listening Program- Guidebook and 8 CDs.  We also invested in some top-the-line headphones.  The right headphones are important because the specially-created compact discs produce sounds at a high frequency that many headphones can't carry to the user.

So, we've started this program with my 7 and 5 year old children and I've convinced my 12 year old to try it again, too.  He was all to happy to include in his school day a half hour of time to play with Legos!

I'll post bi-weekly with results. When I have time, I will post some common indicators, used in our OT center's evaluation process to determine if a child has Auditory Processing issues.

1 comment:

RealMom4Life said...

Thanks for taking the time to type this out. It's very interesting. We have one child in particular that I have his hearing tested EVERY YEAR but he always passes with flying colors. But...I would say nearly every week one of us says something to this child and it's like it was totally misheard. Someone might say, "Hey, there is a heard of cattle in this book" and this child will say, "A bird of scattle? What's that?". I know it happens to everyone, but all the other kids combined do not do this as often as this child. I'm going to keep my eyes open for other things on your list rather than just write it off as nothing. THANKS