Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) also known as (Central) Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is a listening disorder. It affects the way the brain processes auditory information. What it is not, is a hearing impairment, children with this disorder usually have normal hearing ability, however they struggle to process the information that they hear in the same way others do. It leads to difficulties in putting together sounds to convert them into speech.
The cause of APD is unknown. Children with APD usually have another underlying condition as well, such as, dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, PDD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, speech or developmental delays, just to name a few.
Symptoms and characteristics of APD:
· Trouble paying attention
· Trouble remembering information presented verbally to them
· Problems carrying out multi-step directions or instructions
· They need more time to process information
· They “appear” (which is usually not the case) to have poor listening skills and need you to speak slowly
· Prefer written communication
· Dislike a lot of background noises because it distracts them
Most children with APD tend to be quiet and shy, even withdrawn from mainstream conversations because of their lack of understanding and processing the information.
Treatment for APD includes therapy based on the child’s needs. Therapy will focus on improving listening skills and developing strategies that the child can use to become successful in learning and in the community. Usually therapy will include a speech therapist, an audiologist, a teacher and the child’s pediatrician; all of them play an important role in a child with APD. Things such as computer programs, assistive listening devices and changes in the environment are used to improve the processing skills.