What Is Auditory Processing?
Auditory processing is the ability to process information that we hear. Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) occurs when the brain has difficulty processing sounds and words accurately. This causes an inaccurate or limited interpretation of information. However, it is not hearing loss; a person can still have normal hearing, but have difficulties with auditory processing.
Early speech and language development involves listening to spoken language. Difficulties processing auditory information during critical language development years can lead to a delay in the acquisition of speech, language, literacy and pragmatic skills.
The American Speech and Language association identifies that treatment should include three primary areas of focus: changing the learning environment, utilisation of higher order skills and intervention for the auditory difficult itself. Management of APD requires therapy that is individualised for a child’s needs.
Therapy approaches may entail the following principles:
- Active participation from the listener
- Frequent and intense input
- Treatment of the underlying cause, not just the symptoms
- Maximisation of neuroplasticity principles through activities to improve acoustic and auditory input. Targets include auditory discrimination, auditory memory and auditory integration.
- Inclusion of ‘top down’ approaches that target the processing of information for meaning (including memory, attention and language skills)
- Training the student or client in effective listening skills
Symptoms of auditory processing disorders
Difficulties with auditory processing disorders can manifest in a variety of ways.
Some indicators of auditory processing difficulties include:
- Behavioural difficulties
- Poor academic performance
- Difficulty paying attention and listening
- Difficulty remembering spoken instructions or information
- Delayed response when asked a question
- Increased time required to process information
- Difficulty with pre-literacy and literacy skills
In diagnosing and providing therapy for people with APD, a multi-disciplinary approach is vital. An APD diagnosis is determined by an Audiologist, in conjunction with multi-disciplinary input from speech pathologists, educational psychologists, teachers, and other relevant medical professionals.
If you have concerns regarding your child’s auditory processing skills, it is advisable that you consult your GP, who can make an appropriate referral to an Audiologist. Once a diagnosis has been established, a speech pathologist is able to provide ongoing intervention support.
Contact Us For Results Focused Speech Therapy in Sydney
This article was written by our speech pathologist Jenna Butterworth who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you have questions about auditory processing disorders, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a speech pathologist in Sydney. Contact us today!
For further information about auditory processing disorder, please see these resources:
SPA Web words: link.