Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

APD refers to how the central nervous system uses auditory information


Affects about 5% of school-aged children

Kids can not process what they hear

The brain does not fully coordinate

Something interferes with the way the brain recognizes and interprets sounds, especially speech.

Not all learning, language, and communication deficits are due to APD.

What to watch for

Children that struggle with spelling, reading, or understanding speech

Children that have difficulty following simple verbal directions


Ranges from mild to severe

There are many different forms

Child has difficulty understanding speech in a noisy environment

Some behave as if they lost their hearing

Childern have a hard time with spelling, reading, and understanding speech


The cause of APD is often unknown. Evidence suggest head trauma, lead poising, and chronic ear infections can be the cause, but there could be multiple causes. No one knows the cause.


Audiologist (hearing specialist) Exam - In a sound treated room

5 main problems: Auditory Figure ground problem, Auditory memory problem, Auditory discrimination problems, Auditory attention problems, and Auditory cohesion problems.

Most of the test require the child to be at least 7-8 years old


There is no for sure method to cure APD

Treatment will be specific per child

Therapy is an option but not guaranteed

Treatment generally focuses on 3 areas: Changing the learning environment, recruiting hider-order skills to help compensate, and remediation of the auditory deficit itself

The degree of APD that the child has will effect the treatment



James Bellis, T. (n.d.). Understanding Auditory Processing Disorders in Children

Lucker, D. (2015, January 1). National Coalition of Auditory Processing Disorders.

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