Auditory Processing Disorder in Children

What is auditory processing?

Auditory processing is a term used to describe what happens when your brain recognizes and interprets the sounds around you. An individual might be hearing right but has a problem interpreting it.

What are the symptoms of possible auditory processing difficulty?
Children with auditory processing difficulty typically have normal hearing and intelligence. However, they
have also been observed to

• Have trouble  paying attention to and remembering information presented orally
• Have problems carrying out multistep directions
• Have poor listening skills
• Need more time to process information
• Have low academic performance
• Have behavior problems
• Have language difficulty (e.g., they confuse syllable sequences and have problems developing
  vocabulary and understanding language)
• Have difficulty with reading, comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary

Common areas of difficulty and some educational implications:

Phonological awareness
Words we speak and write are formed by putting individual sounds(phonemes) together. This is Phonological awareness.  This is a fundamental precursor to reading. Children who have difficulty with phonological awareness will often be unable to recognize or isolate the individual sounds in a word, recognize similarities between words (as in rhyming words), or be able to identify the number of sounds in a word. These deficits can affect all areas of language including reading, writing, and understanding of spoken language
Auditory discrimination
Auditory discrimination is the ability to recognize differences in phonemes (sounds). This includes the ability to identify words and sounds that are similar and those which are different.

Auditory memory
Auditory memory is the ability to store and recall information which was given verbally. An individual with difficulties in this area may not be able to follow instructions given verbally or may have trouble recalling information from a story read aloud.
Auditory sequencing
Auditory sequencing is the ability to remember or reconstruct the order of items in a list or the order of sounds in a word or syllable. One example is saying or writing "ephelant" for "elephant."
Auditory blending
Auditory blending is the process of putting together phonemes to form words. For example, the individual phonemes "c", "a", and "t" are blended to from the word, "cat".

Expressive language is a reflection of how efficient the brain processed the sounds.

Treatment : AIT & The Listening Program
There are now a number of new treatment techniques that directly address the hearing deficits. The pioneer of these techniques was Dr. Alfred Tomatis, who began treating Central Auditory Processing Disorders over forty years ago.

Berard Auditory Integration Training or Berard AIT was developed by Dr. Guy Berard, an otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat or ENT physician) in Annecy, France. Dr. Guy Berard originally invented AIT to rehabilitate disorders of the auditory system, such as hearing loss or hearing distortion (hypersensitive, hyposensitive, or asymmetrical hearing).

After 35+ years of clinical practice and study, Dr. Berard determined that, in many cases, distortions in hearing or auditory processing contribute to behavioral or learning disorders. In the large majority of Dr. Berard's cases, AIT significantly reduced some or many of the handicaps associated with autism spectrum disorders, central auditory processing disorders (CAPD), speech and language disorders, sensory issues including auditory, tactile or other sensory sensitivities (hyper or hypo), dyslexia, pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity, anxiety, and depression.

Berard Auditory Integration Training was designed to normalize hearing and the ways in which the brain processes auditory information. For example, an individual tests as hypersensitive to the frequencies of 1,000 and 8,000 Hertz while perception of all other frequencies falls within the normal range. The individual becomes overstimulated, disoriented or agitated in the presence of sounds at 1,000 and 8,000 Hertz. Therefore, Berard AIT works to normalize the hearing response across all frequencies within the normal hearing range.

In another example, an individual's hearing is asymmetrical (significantly different between the two ears). When the right and left ears perceive sounds in an extremely different way, problems with sound discrimination can occur. Again, Berard AIT works to normalize the hearing of both ears.

What is The Listening Program?
The Listening Program is a music-based auditory stimulation method developed by Advanced Brain Technologies. The program is designed to improve the auditory skills necessary to effectively listen, learn, and communicate.
Using 8 specially pre-recorded CDs your child listens to the program twice a day for a period of 15 minutes for an 8-week period. The CDs are a series of high-quality audio recordings that integrate specially produced classical acoustic music with innovative sound processing techniques.

The Listening Program is designed to balance and restore the ability to listen to and process sounds across the full auditory spectrum. Through enriched auditory stimulation, the program strengths the tiny muscles in the middle ear and improves the brain's ability to process sounds. The Listening Program helps with auditory processing problems, sound sensitivities, learning and attention deficits. The program has the added advantage in that it also helps to improve communication skills, enhance musical abilities, and optimize learning potential


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