When the audiologist told me that my son had Auditory Processing Disorder, also known as APD, the therapist in me immediately began researching what I could and needed to do in order to help my son. I began to get very frustrated because there really wasn’t a lot on the web about APD. Isuspected it was more common than what I probably imagined, but I didn’t know where to turn in order to get more information or to receive help or encouragement. Thus, this is one reason why I blog. I want to share what we’ve done, what we’ve found helpful, and what has been an extreme flop. I grew increasingly more frustrated because I found the same information over and over, but very little helpful information when it came to the day-to-day living and adaptations needed and the answer to the questions that we had. It was as if they said “Your son has a problem. You figure out how to fix it.”
So what is APD? APD is also known as CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder). From what I’ve gathered, there’s no known reason as to why children have this, but it is apparently common. In a nutshell, they have problems understanding or listening to spoken language. Writing the words out because a way for them to “hear” because they see what they missed in hearing what was said. Noisy environments are not the best place to have conversations with these children because they can’t hear much of what is being said by anyone. Well, they hear it, but they can’t understand it or pick out one voice speaking from another. It sort of weaves in and out from each other.
They also have trouble hearing certain blends in words because they go silent to their listening ear. So those cute words we thought my son was saying was really him not hearing those other letters in the words. Another problem many of these kiddos have (and adults, too) is that they are forgetful. You can tell them over and over to do something but they forget. Keeping sentences short and concise is what they need. I’ll be honest. It’s what I need too!
Some (all though I wonder if most) are lip readers. This also explains why they miss some of those silent sounds in words that they can’t hear. Our lips aren’t making a very pronounced movement in certain words. Another thing that can occur with APD is dyslexia. This explains so much of our struggle with reading. I wish I had known, although I probably would have still just pushed him as hard. However, it does explain why he excelled when I switched up how I taught him how to read. Word problems in math are another nightmare for these kiddos. (Let’s get real….it is for me too. I always just wanted to write the word “because.”) This makes sense if you consider the amount of language used in these problems and the process your brain has to go through to find the answer. APD leads to children falling behind in Math and English.
One of the most heart-breaking things to me is the way these kids feel. Apparently the suicide rate is very high for kids with APD because they always feel like they are never good enough and that they are always struggling. This is something that I hope my son never feels. I can see why they think this way, though.
Another problem is balance. We always thought our son was a “bull in a china shop.” If there was something that had been in his way for years, he’d still run into it. I read somewhere that APD could have been caused by ear infections. This makes the balance issue make sense because it’s an inner ear issue. Our balance is off when we have inner ear issues. With no one being certain what causes APD, this was one reasoning that made sense to me. My son did have several ear infections as a baby, but not enough to need tubes, thankfully.
The more I read about APD and the problems they have in school, in families, and in social situations, I was determined to be the biggest cheerleader for my son. I want him to meet this head on, know about it, deal with it, and have his parents and siblings encouraging him in everything. Do I let him fail? You bet. Am I there to hug him when a bigger boy bullies him? Yes. Do I intervene to be sure this bullying doesn’t continue? Yes. I know that his family will be his biggest advocate and will help him succeed. I’m aware some people may look at my child as a “problem child.” I assure you that he’s not. He’s the biggest blessing to my family and has the sweetest heart of any boy I know.