Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

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Auditory Processing Difficulties
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is identified as a neurological defect that impacts how the brain processes spoken language. It is an inability to process sound meanings from surrounding environments (Lucker, n.d.). The central nervous system (CNS) is a vast system, known to be responsible for various functions (memory, attention, language etc.) APD in the broadest sense refers to how the CNS uses auditory information although APD individuals typically have regular hearing, it is the struggle to process and make meaning of sounds/verbal information, particularly when in presence of background noises (Bidwell, 2016). Poor expressive and receptive communication can arise due to this and generally leads to
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In addition, an insensitivity to subtle properties of sound (pitch, volume, rhythm and stress) are all considered symptoms of APD.
Formal diagnoses of auditory processing difficulties cannot be made by an audiologist until the age of 7 years when the system has maturated (Auditory Processing Disorder, 2015). Although, by 5 years’ speech-language pathologists, audiologists and/or psychologists are able to administer a sound based screening test in addition to auditory based language tests to determine if a child is “at risk” or “showing signs” of APD. General estimation suggests 3-5% of children worldwide to be affected and considered one of the main sources auditory dyslexia (Mountjoy, 2002).
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Learning vowels and developing phonemic awareness is a milestone often encountered with children associated with this disorder. Syllables that are not emphasised or contain similar sounds (e.g. free instead of three) may continue to cause complications long after other classmates have learned to correct themselves (Lucker, n.d. & Auditory Processing Australia, 2016). This can invoke lowering self-esteem and a sense of inferiority among peers.
Support for APD children
Direct intervention for APD (e.g. auditory training) combined with improved environmental settings and enhanced communication techniques in order to support and assist children can compensate for the difficulties experienced. Compensatory strategies, for example, would enable a child to recognise circumstances where their listening will be challenged and counter-tactics that could be used in such circumstances (Bidwell, 2016 & Bellis, 1997).
Bidwell (2016) proposes changes in one’s environment can provide support to individuals with APD enabling more effective listening and learning. For example, eliminating environmental disruptions, say in an educational atmosphere (classroom) provides support because anything that captures the child’s focus would minimised/decreased. Other probable distractions with classroom situations include background noise and visual

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