Sunday, 29 April 2012

Auditory Processing - what?!?!

No - it's not a hearing problem, it's a PROCESSING problem. 

The term has been bandied about by my daughter's School for a while now.  I was told initially that the School would refer, but then the SENCO told me that the School Nurse did not refer for this any more & I would have to go through the G.P.  I did this, but got an appointment for an Occupational Therapist!.....  It was worth it, as it turns out my daughter has hypermobility & fine motor issues, so requires a slanted desk & special writing instruments, as well as exercises for strengthening the writing hand.  All good stuff.

When I addressed the auditory processing issue with the School again, (this time with a specialist teacher present) amazingly enough the School Nurse WAS able to refer, (is it me, or was someone telling porky pies?!)   The appointment came through for last Friday and as it turned out it was just for a hearing test (which I had already said was NOT an issue for my daughter - who can hear my husband & I talking about 'secrets' we do not want her to hear at the lowest of levels!); luckily the kind Doctor referred her on without further forms being filled in, which is the normal protocol...and so we wait, for another 6 weeks probably...for another appointment. 

So, what is it I am looking into & why?

Understanding Auditory Processing Disorders in Children
by Teri James Bellis, PhD, CCC-A

'Children with APD may exhibit a variety of listening and related complaints. For example, they may have difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, following directions, and discriminating (or telling the difference between) similar-sounding speech sounds. Sometimes they may behave as if a hearing loss is present, often asking for repetition or clarification. In school, children with APD may have difficulty with spelling, reading, and understanding information presented verbally in the classroom. Often their performance in classes that don't rely heavily on listening is much better, and they typically are able to complete a task independently once they know what is expected of them.'

Whenever I talk to my daughter's class teacher, their biggest complaint is the amount of times my daughter puts her hand up to ask the teacher for clarification, or repetition of an instruction.  This, of course, really ticks them off, after all, why can't she just listen?!  BUT, my daughter IS NOT a naughty girl, she would do anything to please, but constantly risks being told off by asking again & again, her hearing is excellent, she is very bright - WHY???  Maybe, just maybe, she can't help it?  I have been into School, meeting with her class teacher & the head teacher because my daughter was sooo upset that she (once again) got 'adequate' for concentration on her report....Despite our discussions and acceptance from the 'powers that be' that she may be suffering with AP difficulties, this term's report came home, and yes, you guessed it, concentration was 'adequate', and if I hadn't brushed it aside, the tears would have rolled again.

So, if any of you have children who you know are pretty well behaved but keep getting reports that say 'lack concentration,' perhaps you too should go down this route...I will let you know if my daughter is diagnosed & what this will mean, if & when that occurs.  In the meantime, please comment if you have any experience/info in this area.  Thanks...


  1. I have just read your description of APD and how it was exibiting in your daughter and I felt that I was reading about my own experiences at school. My mother tried to get help but was fobbed-off and labelled "a neurotic mother" (seriously, I saw the notes much later). As a child I felt so embarrassed about continually asking for instructions or questions to be repeated that I spent a lot of time engrossed in books (you don't need to ask them to repeat). Keep up the good work.

  2. Dear Adrian,

    Thank you so much for this share experiences and raise awareness is EXACTLY why I started this blog - so THANK YOU! I am so sorry for your less than satisfying experience at School - wish I had been your teacher! I wish also that I could say that things have changed - but unfortunately - they haven't. Children are still being told they 'should've listened the first time,' and parents are still being told their child just 'doesn't concentrate,' and treated like neurotic parents if they question why? (and if you're a neurotic parent AND a teacher like I am, you are really treated like a pain!). I hope that our experiences encourage others to forge ahead if they think their child is not 'naughty' but is constantly being told to concentrate by teachers and in School Reports. As for you, just remember that these things can be inherited through the generations, so please look out for it in your own children & catch it as early as possible if it's there - I am so glad I caught it for my daughter!