As I began researching more about Auditory Processing Disorder, I began to wonder if there was any link to Autism. I wouldn’t typically have thought there was a correlation, except that I suspected the link in my son. Sure enough, there is. As a music therapist, I knew there were usually processing issues with kids on the spectrum, but as a parent, I forgot the link. Isn’t it strange how you know the facts and how to help parents as a therapist, yet struggle as the parent with your own children. It’s so much harder to be the parent!
Gemm Learning discusses this link on their web page, saying that “auditory processing disorder is so prevalent in the ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) population, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is working on processing tests as a way to detect autism early childhood.” I did not realize how significant the link was between the two.
The Autism Research Institute says “Auditory processing problems might be linked to other autistic characteristics, such as anxiety or confusion in social situations, and inattentiveness.” They have also found that those children with autism that do not have auditory processing disorder are often your auditory learners. Thinking back over my child, as well as the many kids I have worked with, I can definitely see that pattern being true. It’s definitely something I’d like to explore more.
I’ve discussed in a previous article what Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is and some of the main signs of APD. Surprisingly, these are also some of the same signs found in a child with Aspergers. Kids with Aspergers tend to not enjoy loud places or big crowds. They also prefer written text. I have found that in our homeschooling that we have much more success in our day if things are written down so it can be visually seen. Because of the comprehension difficulties and some difficulty in understanding language, writing things down has helped us hit several goals using one technique. Probably one of the daily sources of my frustration is the trouble with only being able to follow one direction at a time. This is also where a list has proved to be very effective. I do catch myself verbally giving a list and 0% of it gets done. I’ve tried to improve a lot more on writing things down. It helps that I do love to write!
They also need people to speak slowly and to give them more time to process information. Also, they may have trouble remembering things, which is where music therapy works perfect! We do end up setting lots of things to songs to help remember educational things as well as appropriate social interactions.
Children who have APD tend to be shy. Adding Aspergers to this, these kids tend to be lonely, shy, uncertain of themselves and the world around them, and need a safe person to bring their questions to. They read people differently and can have difficulty in understanding if someone is mad at them and why. They also can have trouble with the word “no,” simply because they are not processing what they are being told.
Talk About Curing Autism shares with their readers that “A common secondary diagnosis for some children with autism is Auditory Processing disorder or Central Auditory Processing Disorder.” I clarified in a previous post that a child with APD does not mean that they can’t hear. It means that they have trouble hearing and understanding different sounds and confusing words because they can sound alike. In the case of my child, he lip reads a lot. When the audiologist covered her mouth, he couldn’t tell her anything that she said. But he easily spouted off what she had told him when her hand was removed from her mouth.
There is a lot of information out there about APD and Aspergers. My hope is to bring it all together in one place and to keep it updated with some of the latest information, as well as personal stories. I’m a firm believer that sharing our stories makes a difference and encourages others. In a world where people like to pretend that they have it all together, I find it refreshing to find transparent people who don’t mind saying “we aren’t perfect and we struggle, too.” May this be a place where you find acceptance and love and a community of support.