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How does auditory processing issues contribute to ADD/ADHD symptoms?

Children struggling with auditory processing disorders in some cases are misdiagnosed as ADHD and in some cases it adds to the already existing ADHD issues.

Roughly 7 percent of children have some type of auditory processing difficulty.

A study @ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8083142 throws much light on the link between ADHD and Auditory Processing Disorder.

What is an Auditory Processing Disorder?

Children affected by Auditory Processing Disorder cannot process the information they hear and are usually characterized as "poor listeners". They have normal hearing ability, but there is a disconnect between what is heard and what is understood. These children's brains interpret sounds differently than those of others.

These problems are more pronounced in a noisy room or when the student is listening to complex information. This can result in speech, language, and academic problems, especially in spelling, reading, writing, and speaking skills.

What are the signs and symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder?

The signs and symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder are:

* Difficulty hearing in noisy environments

* Frequently misunderstands oral instructions/questions

* Says “huh” or “what” frequently

* Often needs directions or information repeated

* Difficulty remembering spoken information

* Difficulty with reading, comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, writing, or learning a foreign language

* Difficulty with phonics or distinguishing speech sounds

* Difficulty with organizational skills

* Difficulty following multi-step directions

* Difficulty maintaining focus on an activity if other sounds are present or child is easily distracted by other sounds in the environment

* Difficulty following long conversations

* Difficulty taking notes

* Difficulty with verbal (word) math problems

What kind of difficulties does Auditory Processing Disorder pose for children?

A child with Auditory Processing Disorder typically tries so hard to understand what's being said that she forgets parts of the conversation or doesn't pick up on the nuances or subtleties of the words. Combine APD with ADHD, and a child's abilities to listen and remember are severely compromised.

What are the characteristics of Auditory Processing Disorder that overlap with ADHD?

The following characteristics of Auditory Processing Disorder, sound similar to those of ADD/ADHD:

* Has trouble paying attention to and remembering information presented orally

* Has problems carrying out multi-step directions

* Has poor listening skills

* Needs more time to process information

* Has behavior problems

* Has difficulty with reading, comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary

How to diagnose Auditory Processing Disorder?

A diagnosis can be made following testing by a specialized audiologist using specific tests. Some of the skills evaluated by the audiologist do not develop in the child until age eight or nine.

What facilities should be provided for a child diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder?

Auditory Processing Disorder is recognized as a learning disability and should therefore be recognized as qualifying a student for exceptional status. This means that once a diagnosis is made and recommendations are clearly stated, including a trial with an FM system (a headset the student wears to listen directly to the instructor via microphone), in the audiologists report, parents should request an IPRC meeting in writing from the principal. The student will be eligible for an FM system to be placed in the classroom (see accommodations below). The cost of these systems are most often covered by the Ministry of Education rather than your school board or school, so funding is not an issue when obtaining this device. The Ministry of Education often provides someone to train the child and teacher on how to use the device. A few month's trial with the system is usually initiated to assess the benefits. If several children in the classroom suffer from this disorder, a surround sound system can be installed in the classroom.

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