Auditory Processing Problems in Children

As kids learn about the world around them, they acquire much information through auditory means. Each time they hear you say a word or listen to you respond to a childish query, they add the piece of information to their memory banks. Children with auditory processing disorder, however, struggle to do this. While these children possess the power of hearing, they struggle to comprehend what they say. As KidsHealth reports, this challenge impacts 5 percent of all school-aged children. If you think that your child may be one of them, consider the symptoms and difficulties associated with this struggle.


The Auditory Processing Process

While many fail to realize it, there is more to understanding spoken information or directions than just hearing them. As the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports, individuals must process information that they acquire through hearing within their brain and build understanding. Children who struggle with auditory processing are unable to do this. Although these children can hear, they can not build a collection of information from what they hear, making it difficult for them to learn through listening.

Auditory Processing Problem Causes

The exact reason why a child struggles to process auditory information is not always known. As the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports, scientists are still studying this disorder and the base of knowledge about it and how it works. Researchers have found that there is a connection between children who suffer from other disorders such as dyslexia, autism, language impairment and general developmental delay and those who suffer from auditory processing disorder, leading them to believe that this disorder could essentially be a side effect of many other mental processing problems.

Signs of Trouble

It may not always be immediately apparent that your child is suffering from an auditory processing disorder, as understanding, or lack of, is not always visually apparent. There are, however, some outwardly visible signs that could indicate the presence of auditory processing challenges. If your child demonstrates an inability to follow oral directions, struggles with reading and spelling or needs extra time to process information that is presented to him orally, it may be a sign that he is experiencing an auditory processing problem.

Diagnostic Process

To diagnose an auditory processing problem, medical professionals need to carry out a multifaceted process, reports the American Speech Language Hearing Association. This process will likely consist of input from an assortment of sources, including the child’s teacher, his parents and a speech and language pathologist, who will perform a battery of age-appropriate oral comprehension tests.

Overcoming the Obstacles

While children who struggle with auditory processing will likely have to face more challenges than their otherwise able peers, the presence of this disorder alone does not mean that the child will not be academically successful. There are many things that parents and educators can do to help those who have an auditory processing disorder, including making modifications to the environment, providing the child with extra language building activities, actively working to build memory and providing speech and language training. With these assistive tools, children who struggle with speech and language comprehension can achieve just as readily as their peers.

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