Auditory processing disorder is the inability to accurately process auditory information. Children who have auditory processing weaknesses or who have been diagnosed with auditory processing disorder (APD) may exhibit the following characteristics: easily distracted in a noisy environment, difficulty following directions, impaired memory skills, and difficulty with reading, spelling, or writing. These children usually have normal hearing when tested, but their listening skills are impaired. The presence of APD is determined through testing by an audiologist. This testing is typically not performed before the age of seven to allow for maturation of the auditory system. Once tested, children are seen by a speech therapist, with consultation by the audiologist, to help improve their auditory processing skills.
Having weaknesses with auditory processing can cause difficulties for children at school. Below is a list of classroom accommodations to help optimize learning.
- Preferential seating: Away from the door/hallway and near the area where the teacher instructs
- Minimize visual distractions
- Make sure the child/class is attending before giving directions and present only 1 to 2 directions at a time.
- Pair auditory information with visual cues
- Provide extended time for testing
- Use an FM system
- Provide breaks from listening, and allow the class to move in some way.
These classroom accommodations can be beneficial for children with auditory processing weaknesses and can help to maximize the child’s ability to learn.