Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

What is APD?

Auditory processing is a term for ‘what we do with what we hear’. Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) refers to an inability to make optimal use of what we hear and affects 3%-5% of the population – about one child in every classroom.

Whilst APD is not the result of language, cognitive or related disorders, it may lead to or be associated with difficulties in speech, language, learning and communication skills.

A child with auditory processing difficulties can hear spoken messages, but may not be able to make sense of what they hear.  As a result children with APD experience difficulties in the following areas:

  • Listening in noisy environments
  • Understanding and following instructions
  • Remembering information they have heard
  • Learning to read, write and spell
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I’m concerned my child may have APD – what should I do?

If your child is six or older, book in for an assessment with a qualified paediatric audiologist at Can:Do Hearing or Can:Do 4Kids. Our audiologists will firstly examine your child’s peripheral hearing to rule out the possibility of a hearing loss (permanent or temporary). On some occasions, we will recommend a child wait until they are seven to be tested.

What happens in an APD assessment?

Assessment is a detailed process where we develop an understanding of your child’s history and medical background – so we ask parents/caregivers and teachers to fill out a questionnaire. If your child has seen another health professional (e.g. speech pathologist or psychologist), we’ll ask to see an overview of any assessments.

Can:Do Hearing paediatric audiologists use this information to determine which tests are suitable for each child’s needs and abilities.  We provide very comprehensive assessments, results and recommendations.

What happens if my child is diagnosed with APD?

We will work with you to develop the best management plan in line with your child’s needs, it may involve:

  • Working with your child’s school on classroom strategies to maximise your child’s learning
  • Discussing strategies to help develop your child’s listening and communication skills
  • Use of Soundfield Systems (FM, remote microphone, Roger)
  • Utilising other Can:Do professionals such as a speech pathologist trained in APD therapy
  • Computer-based programs developed in line with scientific research – such as the Sound Storm auditory training program.

APD may also coexist with other disorders e.g. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), language impairment or learning disabilities. In these cases, careful diagnosis is required.