Auditory Processing Disorders
“Johnny, go upstairs and get your coat and hat”, the mother says to her son. Johnny enters the house, runs upstairs and comes down zipping up his jacket carrying his stuff animal, Kitty, under his arm. The mother says, frustratingly, “What’s with the cat? I told you to get your coat and hat so we can leave. You never listen to me!?”
What happened? Johnny is labeled as not listening, yet he certainly listened and heard what his mother said. However, unknowing to mom and to anyone else, Johnny has an auditory information processing disorder also known as APD. For him, the /k/ sound of coat smushed into the word hat, and Johnny interpreted that he heard cat and never discriminated the word as hat.
Thus, he did what he processed, he went upstairs to his room grabbed his jacket and his stuffed cat, Kitty. Then when his mother said, “You never listen to me!” Johnny got confused because in his minds eye he did listen so he doesn’t understand what’s wrong. For many children, adolescents, and adults with APD, they feel they are dumb or unable to please adults because they don’t do what they are told even though they strongly believe they do what they hear and what they understand.
APD has been described as affecting around 10% of children and an unknown number of adults. Many professionals either do not believe in APD, misunderstand what is and what is not APD, or are unable to appropriately diagnose children with APD or differentiate whether a student has APD or some other disorder.
Auditory processing involves how we make sense out of information we receive through our auditory system. Information is acted upon by our abilities to hearing, our knowledge of the language used in the message, our previous experiences with the situation or the language used, and how we think about what we have heard. Auditory processing is often viewed as merely a problem with the auditory system. However, Dr. Jay Lucker of APS has identified that auditory information processing is more than merely an auditory system disorder, and his assessment focuses on identifying all of the factors that might account for people having problems processing information they hear.
If you are interested in learning more about APD, visit www.ncapd.org. This is the website of the National Coalition on Auditory Processing Disorders of which Dr. Lucker is President, Co-Founder, and Chairman of the Board and contains valuble information, including Dr. Lucker’s coauthored APD Simulation and electronic publications concerning APD.
Dr. Lucker provides comprehensive assessments of APD and language for children, adolescents and adults at Ashburn Psychological Services.
Please contact us to schedule a consultation.