In a seven part series, I covered the multiple components involved with an Auditory Processing Disorder. I opened the discussion by describing the multi-system approach and moved into the sensory component to auditory processing, auditory discrimination, auditory hyper-sensitivity, auditory extraction, as well as auditory attention and distractibility.
This final article in the series will introduce to you memory, organization and integration.
Auditory Processing and Memory
Memory is a skill that involves executive functioning as well as the cognitive and language systems. Thus, activities that teach “memory strategies” such as mnemonics and categorizing information as well as associating things should be taught and not merely memory exercises in which the child repeats and repeats words, numbers, or sentences over and over again.
Auditory Processing and Organization
Organization, the systems involved and the work in this area are similar to that of memory. Organization involves executive functioning along with the cognitive and language systems. The work here is to teach the child to use organization strategies such as graphic organizers, lists, charts, etc.
Auditory Processing and Integration
The last category of auditory processing involves integrating all of the previously described factors together in one unit. The main systems involved are the cognitive system with the language system and some aspects of the auditory system as well. The focus of work in this area is called is called a “meta” approach to learning and thinking.
“Meta” relates to reflecting on what we have processed and what is asked of us. Thus, when we ask a child, what made that sound or who is talking, the integrative or meta-cognitive level would then ask, “How do you know your answer is correct?” Look for the child providing concrete responses to such questions.
At the meta-lingusitic level, we would present verbal messages in which the language rules are the clues to answer the question. For example, in the sentence, “The boy went to the store to buy some milk,” when did the boy do that, “Yesterday or Right Now?” The answer is linguistically based on the rule that “went” is the past tense so it had to happen yesterday.
At the meta-auditory level, we can ask a child a discrimination question such as “Are ‘pat’ and ‘bat’ the same words?” and if the child says they are different, the child would have to give you an auditory based reason why they are different and not say that “one starts with ‘p’ and one starts with ‘b’” which is visually based. One correct answer is to provide the phoneme sounds, while another correct answer is to say that one is soft or voiceless (p) and the other starts with a louder sound or a voiced phoneme (b).
Conclusion of Series
I know that I have presented a lot of information to you in this series, but I wanted to be sure you understand what auditory processing disorders are really all about, what are the different categories, and at least some ideas about treatments in each of the categories. The hardest problem now is to find that professional, an audiologist, who can provide the appropriate diagnosis of the specific categories of APD present with your child. However, once you have done this, reflect on what is written here and you may have a more complete understanding of your child’s ism and some things you can do to help your child.
If you would like to learn more about this multi-system approach to auditory processing, check out a book co-authored by this professional called “Don’t You Get It? Living with Auditory Learning Disabilities. The opening chapter of the book describes this system-integrated model of auditory processing, while the remainder of the book discusses resources and stories about people who have lived with APD and have overcome their problems.
Lucker, J.R. (2008). What are auditory processing disorders? In, H. Edell, J.R. Lucker, & L. Alderman. Don’t You Get It? Living With Auditory Learning Disabilities. Wood Dale, IL.: Stoelting Co.
Lucker, J.R. (2013). Auditory hypersensitivity in children with autism spectrum disorder. Focus On Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 20 (10), 1-8.
Lucker, J.R., Doman, A. (2012). Auditory hypersensitivity in children. Autism Science Digest, 4.