Children with APD will often appear to misunderstand instructions, ask for questions to be repeated, and respond slowly when asked. They may appear easily distracted or "dreamy". Often they will have difficulty picking up on the phonics basis of reading. Not all APD children have the same problems. Some have problems sequencing speech sounds; others have problems understanding speech in background noise, and in some the timing appears off.
APD becomes more apparent in poorer listening environments such as open classrooms and where there is background noise. Children may not show the problem until they begin school. Classrooms are often busy and noisy, and teachers give a great deal of information in words, requiring the child to listen actively with much background noise. Children with APD find it had to "sift" what they are hearing to pick out the important bit of noise. This inefficiency in processing means that they are working harder to process and interpret what they hear.
Teachers can assist children with APD to grasp auditory information:
In Adelaide, this can be arranged by contacting the Flinders Medical Centre Speech Pathology and Audiology Department (Ph: 8204 5933). There is often a long waiting list for public patients. Private assessments and auditory processing therapy are also available at cost to parents: I can provide the contact names for private services.
Further support for teachers is available in DECS schools from the Hearing Impairment Services in each district and from the school's Speech Pathologist. Students in independent schools will need to access private Audiologists and Speech Pathologists. Please contact me if you would like any further information.
Jenni Pearce, Psychologist (2009)
Child & Educational Psychology
6 Edward Street, NORWOOD 5067 South Australia, Australia.
Telephone: 0407 726 332
Fax: (08) 8362 0332