WOW, it’s a steep learning curve being involved with children who experience significant and complex neurological issues like Sensory Processing and Auditory Processing Disorders. So what is it like to walk a mile in the shoes with a child who has Auditory Processing Disorder?
APD is a neurological defect that affects how the brain processes spoken language. This makes it difficult for the child to process verbal instructions or to filter out the background noise in the classroom.
Once again, I will give an example from one of my children to help illustrate some of the issues that he faces both at home and school.
- Appears to not hear all of what is said.
- Sometimes mis hears initial or ending sounds.
- Sometimes in noisy places appears distant (like he’s in another place).
- Had a hearing test, but needed to take it a couple of times as he had trouble following the instructions as well as hearing the sounds so resorted to guessing.
- Misinterprets what is said in conversations, or instructions.
- May misread what another child’s actions and words are as they don’t quite match in his mind (possibly due to delay)
- Finds noisy environments (even though he needs to be noisy) unbearable.
- Has a delay in following instructions.
- Becomes grumpy and irritable.
- Works better at home when he has some earphones on and verbal instructions coming through them.
- Has trouble understanding or following conversations in small groups.
- Has problems with friends because he doesn’t understand what is being said.
- Prefers to play with one child which enables him to follow a conversation better.
- Listens with one ear and a squinty face when watching television.
- The list continues, but you get the idea..
So, in looking at ways to find out what it is really like for him, I started searching the internet for ideas or clips. There are some really good examples available, but I thought I would share one with you. Here is a snippet of a Youtube clip (these can be extremely powerful) by Kendra Ross.
Through this clip, I have stumbled upon a fantastic little website called ‘Misunderstood Minds’ which gives you a chance to see what it may be like to walk a mile in the shoes of someone with this disorder. To complete the identical puzzle illustrated on this clip, click on the website. On the left side menu is the word Auditory, then click on the Auditory Activity.
I urge you to have a look and see and experience this for yourself. This is definitely important for educators, and those working with children to consider and make the necessary adjustments to assist these children.
If you have a child with APD I would love to hear more about your journey and the ways you have gone about helping them in their everyday activities and school.