Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Not Your Typical Child Tuesday #5

Today's Not Your Typical Child Tuesday is about children with APD or Auditory Processing Disorder.

What is APD? APD is a neurological condition that affect the area of the brain or central nervous system that processes the spoken language. It's basically responsible for not only auditory information but, memory, attention and language, among other things that are also controlled by this region of the brain. This can make it difficult for a kiddo to filter out background noise or to understand what is being spoken to them,  not have the best short term memory, and good attention. It is often mistaken for ADHD! Most importantly, you'll find that they have rather good hearing.

While those with ADHD may not listen well and have a difficulty in understanding or remembering verbal information given, their actual neurological processing of the verbal input is still intact. It is the ADHD affecting the ability to follow direction. Not a neurological issue affecting the child.

There was an excerpt from a news video that showed how APD affects some people. I wrote it down so that I could express to family friends what my little guys' problem might sound like to him and here is the transcript: Laddle Rat Rotten Hut: Once pawn term, dare worsted  laddle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner laddle cortage. Honor itch offer lodge dock florist. 
This translates to : Little Red Riding Hood: Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived with her mother in a little cottage.....

So, what does this mean per say? It means that for example, when I call my son's name a dozen or more times and he doesn't answer. He's not being mean or stubborn or bad! It means that if there is a TV or radio on or too many kids or the wind is even too loud, I have to get in front of him and often times touch him to let him know he's being spoken to. He cannot pick my voice out or anyone else's for that matter from the background noise. In our home it meant that "elephant" really means elephant and ambulance or that "I fry" was french fry for a couple of years now. It means in the case of my nephew that "a dog supervision" is understood as "adult supervision". It means that even though I show my son something, I understand that he may not recall it a whole 30 seconds later!  In class they my have trouble understanding what they're hearing or simply have trouble hearing with the noise of other kiddos in class. They may be distracted by every little sound or sounds that you or I may not really even hear because, we've learned to process it, as background noise!
Basically for our household, it means that just because my child uses a word and even pronounces it correctly, it is understood by me that a) this may or may not be the object he is referring to. b) That he may not always have the right word or be able to communicate properly at all times, especially when he's excited or angry. c) That even though I tell him the name of something, even a dozen times in a minute, he may not recall a single thing and or even come close to being able to say it d) he may not be able to tell where sound is coming from, i.e. if he hears noise above him, he may think it's come from in front of him and e) that I will often have to stop doing everything and get in front of him (almost always touch him) to convey that I am talking to him.

Signs of APD? Does your child mishear a word or phrase often? Or have trouble following directions? Do they seem to not hear you when background noise is around? Do they have difficulty remembering what you've just told them or have an issue using the right word or finding the right word to use period? There are a hundred different things to go by but, they can also be present in another disorder or two. The best way to check is to work with an experienced ST or SLP (speech language pathologist) and an audiologist. Together than can tell you whether your child might have it. APD is not typically diagnosed before the age of 7 years old but, if your child shows some pronounced signs of APD, like my little guy does, most SLPs will work with your child because the earlier you start therapy for it, the better off your child will be. Here is a GREAT article that goes further in depth on the signs and symptoms.

What causes APD? No one really knows. There are a few regression disorders where it is automatically recognized but, in general for most kiddos, though there are many theories, there is no known reason why they have it.

Support: There are a lot of great places online to find support if you or loved one have APD. There is the Auditory Processing Disorder Network and even a FANTASTIC page on FB if that is where you're comfortable called, Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) Support. It is a "closed group" and you must ask to join but, they are some incredible people in there, teens with APD, parents of children with APD and an adult or two with APD! Super supportive people with some great deal of experience and ideas to share. They made a HUGE difference in our lives without speech therapy!
If you're just up to reading about APD, there are some great blogs or posts on the subject, like this one over at Life 360. Or this one on ways to help improve your child's memory. The NY Times even had an article on it when Rosie O'Donnell began to educate the world on it. Here's an article on suggestions for helping an older kiddo with APD. Here is a fantastic blog post from an adult, on having APD. If the internet is not your thing, one of the most recommended books out there for APD is The Sound of Hope.

There is also another great book called When the Brain Can't Hear.
With a lot of work with a speech therapist and some work at home, these kids can make huge strides! So, be patient and don't give up hope! They'll come into their own and still become some amazing people!

Thanks for joining me on another Not Your Typical Child Tuesday! Now back to your regularly scheduled program.... 


  1. Great article describing this hidden disorder and thank you for recommending my book!

    1. Wow! Thanks and you are so very welcome. I can't imagine any other book to recommend out of the gate. I'm glad you liked the article and thanks so much for stopping by!