Definition: A person with auditory processing problems has difficulty in the reception and interpretation of auditory information in the absence of a hearing loss.
A person with the auditory processing problem may hear the sounds loud enough, but not understand the message, and therefore act like he or she cannot hear. Some areas that a parent could begin to look at to obtain some information about the child’s listening behaviors are as follow:
- Does the child “pay attention only when he or she wants to,” or have difficulty responding to part of the message?
- Does the child appear puzzled by some auditory information and say “huh” or “what” often?
- Does the child have difficulty staying on task and completing an assignment or project?
- Does the child appear to tune out what is in the environment and become lost in “his or her own little world?”
- Does the child look around for visual cues from other children before beginning an assignment?
- Does the child have difficulty remembering what is heard such as names, stories, numbers, and multiple directions?
- Does the child often confuse directions or words and think something else was said?
- Does the child have difficulty keeping information heard in the correct sequence?
- Does the child respond to very simple instructions, but not to more complex instructions?
- Is the child slow to respond to auditory information, as if it takes longer to think through the information?
The list could go on and on, but these suggested areas to look for can give you a starting point. If you notice that a majority of these “red flags” pertain to your child you can try the following suggestions:
- Speak slowly; Children with processing problems can comprehend better when speakers slow down from their typical pace.
- Make sure the child is looking at you and is “ready to listen” before you talk
- Use body language and gestures to help make your point.
- Repeat and paraphrase important messages and ask questions to make sure child has processed them.
- Pause between thoughts to allow time for your child to process the idea.
- Keep your sentences short
- Encourage your child to ask questions when he/she doesn’t understand.