What is Auditory Processing Disorder? - Symptoms & Treatment

Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Did you know that between five and seven percent of children are diagnosed with auditory processing disorder? Learn more about the disorder, its symptoms, and treatment. Then test your knowledge with a quiz.

Example

Mary is attending the parent-teacher conference at her daughter Jill's school. Jill is eight years old and in the second grade. Jill's teacher tells Mary that Jill has trouble following multi-step directions and often appears to not be paying attention when given instructions. Jill often asks for clarification several times throughout the day, i.e. Jill says 'what?' at least six times during each class period. Directions have to be written down for Jill because she has trouble when they are given verbally. Jill forgets things that are said to her very quickly. She has trouble discriminating between sounds, i.e. she often confuses the 'st' sound with 'sc'. Jill also has problems carrying conversations with other students, i.e. she tends to overtalk and rarely allows other students to get a word in.

After further discussion with Jill's teacher and the school counselor, Mary decides to take Jill to see a child psychologist to be assessed for mental conditions, including learning disability and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The child psychologist notes that while there are impairments in several different areas, she does not believe that Jill's limitations are due to a mental condition. The child psychologist refers Jill to an audiologist, who diagnoses Jill with auditory processing disorder (APD).

Definition and Symptoms

Auditory processing disorder (APD), also referred to as central auditory processing disorder, is a neurological condition that affects the way in which the brain processes spoken language. APD interferes with the ability to receive, recall, comprehend, and apply auditory information even though hearing ability is normal. APD impairs the ability to listen, hinders speech and language development, and can influence learning ability. Despite these impairments, most individuals with APD possess normal intelligence. It is estimated that between five and seven percent of children have APD. Girls are twice as likely to be diagnosed with APD as boys.

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