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How to Help Children With Auditory Processing Problems

By Tess Miller ; Updated June 13, 2017

If your child has auditory processing problems, she may hear every word you say, but still find it difficult to interpret the meaning of your words. Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a communication disorder that affects approximately five percent of school-age children, according to Kids Health. Children with APD find it difficult to listen in noisy environments, follow verbal directions and distinguish between similar sounds. While a child with APD may have perfect hearing, she will likely appear forgetful or disorganized and may find it difficult to concentrate in school.

  1. Consult an audiologist to discover what changes you can make to help your child focus says the National Institutes of Health. An audiologist can suggest ways to manage acoustics at home and can help determine where your child should sit in the classroom to help him concentrate.

  2. Work with a speech and language therapist to identify areas of language your child finds most problematic. A speech and language therapist can evaluate your child's written and oral language skills to determine an appropriate therapeutic approach.

  3. Use short, simple sentences and maintain eye contact when you speak to your child. If you need to give complex directions, ask your child to repeat each step back to you. Doing these things will help your child focus on your message and increase the likelihood that he will understand what you say.

  4. Teach your child that she must continually seek out ways to compensate for her APD. While teachers and therapists can make certain concessions and adjustments to facilitate learning, your child must accept responsibility for obtaining necessary information.

  5. Obtain an auditory trainer device for your child. An auditory trainer device is a headset used in conjunction with a teacher's microphone to eliminate background noise and ease communication in the classroom.

  6. Educate yourself about various treatment therapies available for APD and find which therapy works best for your child. According to Teri James Bellis, PhD, CCC-A of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, there are numerous therapies designed to treat APD, and your child's success will depend on finding the right one.

  7. Tip

    There are four different subtypes of APD: tolerance/fading memory, integration, decoding and prosodic. According to Judith W. Paton, an audiologist in California, each subtype has distinct symptoms. Correctly identifying a child's subtype is an important part of treating APD.


    Due to a similarity in symptoms, a doctor or therapist may mistake your child's APD for another condition, such as depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Make sure you obtain an accurate diagnoses before proceeding with treatment.

    While symptoms may suggest APD, your child may not develop the skills that are needed to test for the disorder until he is age eight or nine.

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