Auditory processing difficulties is an area I have long been interested in. I have worked closely in assessing and supporting children with these difficulties. Estimates vary but often state that as many as 3 children in any classroom may have auditory processing difficulties. These may be linked to other difficulties (such as dyslexia, ADHD, Autism or learning needs) or may be a specific difficulty. It is relatively poorly understood, and teachers often have limited awareness of how to spot auditory processing needs and how to help.
What are auditory processing difficulties?
Auditory processing difficulties can present in similar ways to hearing impairment. However, the difficulty is not with the child's hearing, it is with the brain's ability to process, retain and make sense of what is heard. Children who experience recurrent glue ear in childhood are thought to be at higher risk of auditory processing difficulties. A child may appear to:
What difficulties might be caused by auditory processing difficulties?:
Children with auditory processing difficulties may face challenges with the following areas:
How do we tell the difference between hearing loss, language difficulties and auditory processing difficulties?
What can be done in the classroom to support children with auditory processing difficulties?
Many of the same adaptive strategies that benefit deaf or hearing impaired children are also effective for children with auditory processing difficulties:
Currently in the UK a diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorder can only be given in the presence of no other diagnoses. A diagnosis can only be given by a limited number of professionals following referral.
However, auditory processing difficulties can be identified and good support given without a formal diagnosis.
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