Auditory Processing Is Crucial Because Our Learning Is .

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Auditory processing is crucial because our learning is heavily reliant on auditory system--- think of how teachers teach from early age- talking, singing, etc.Auditory processing issues can be inherited, or acquired (e.g. by problems at birth,or ear infections when young).3

Often seem overlapping symptoms with other mental health issues4



Symptoms can include:Diminished response to voices or loud noises; difficulty hearing in background noise;needing repetition of info; difficulty understanding speakers with low pitched voices oraccents– variability in hearing depending on situation which may then suggest behavioralor attention problemsSensitive:Sensitivity to sounds that don’t bother others; preference for quiet and solitary activitiesover group situations (avoids malls, pools, etc); withdrawn or anxious is noisyenvironments; perhaps covers ears; reactiveSpeech/language:May have delays; articulation errors; abnormal speaking tone (soft, flat, etc); delays inverbal responding to questions or instructions; difficulty in conversations; reading andspelling difficulties due to weakness in phonicsIncreasing difficulties may be observed as classroom demands change and teachers relymore on verbal instruction and teaching7

Auditory Discrimination Problems Difficulties hearing the difference between sounds or words that are similar E.g. pat/pad; rice/rise; coat/boat; sounds such as “ch” or “shAuditory Figure-Ground Problems Troubles paying attention especially in environments with lots of other soundsand distractions This may make the child frustrated when there is too much noise in the classroomAuditory memory problems: Troubles remembering what s/he is told. So after being told a set of instructions, the individual may have troublesremembering things right after they are said, or may have troubles remembering itlater. May not consistently remember addresses, phone numbers, etc. from day to day. May not remember how to pronounce letters and words.Auditory Association Deficit Troubles learning sounds of letters and letter names, individual words withcategories, etc. May not be able to follow verbal directions, conceptualize the8

concepts of words, numbers, etc. May have difficulty classifying objects and ideaspresented verbally.Sound localization and lateralization: Knowing where a sound is in space. E.g. hearing someone call your name, and figuring out where the person is.Auditory pattern recognition Similarities and differences in the patterns of sounds. E.g. apple/appeal; apple/chapel. Auditory performance with degraded acoustic signals Understanding the spoken word if part of the word is missing. Auditory Attention Problems: Problems in listening long enough to complete a task or requirement (such aslistening to a lecture in school). Although health, motivation, and attitude may alsoaffect attention, among other factors, a child with (C)APD is simply unable tomaintain attention, and is not simply being lazy or defiant.8

Effort in trying to assess impact of noise on difficulties (inattention); does teacher talk a lot,acoustic environment (floors, echoes, noisy fans, heaters, etc)9

There is a strong relationship between language, language development, auditoryskills(including listening), and attention. Therefore, identifying students with auditoryprocessing disorders may be difficult because similar behaviors are exhibited amongstudents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hearing loss, or thepresence of a specific learning disability.10

Sit close to teacher/source of audio input; minimize background noise and auditorydistractions (even small things like a fan vent, etc); acoustics (carpets, wall hangings tocover over-echo prone surfaces);11


Identifying and diagnosing can be tricky, because children seldom complain of or recognizedifficulties--- because they don’t know what it is like to see any other way!!13


Spatial: ability to determine that one form or part of a form is turned in a differentdirection than the others. Position in space makes it difficult for the child to planactions in relation to objects around him/her; difficulty with spatial concepts suchas “in, out, on, under, next to, up, down, in front of.;” difficulty differentiatingbetween “b, d, p, q;” leads to poor sight vocabulary; contributes to difficultyreading charts, maps and diagrams; results ininconsistent symbol reversals and transposing numbers or letters, and losing placeon a page; difficulty finding what is being looked for, attending to a task,remembering left and right, math computations if more than one digit; and forgetswhere to start reading.Visual Sequential Memory-the ability to remember a series of forms and find itamong four other series of forms; Visual sequential memory reflects a child’s abilityto recall a series or sequence of forms. Functionally, this skill would influence achild’s ability to sequence letters or numbers in words or math problems,remember the alphabet in sequence, copy from one place toanother (e.g., from board, from book, from one side of the paper to the other),spell, perform math, retrieve words with reversals or when out of order, andremember order of events after reading (which affects reading comprehension).The child would also tend to forget assignments and forget steps that are shown inan activity.15

Visual-discrimination- Visual discrimination refers to a child's ability todifferentiate between objects and forms. It gives us the ability to notice subtledifferences and to identify if something does or does not belong. For example, thisskill is important for identifying and exchanging money, and matching and sortingobjects. A deficit in this area may contribute to problems in dressing (i.e., matchingshoes or socks), correcting errors in school work, distinguishing similarities anddifferences in the formation of letters (i.e., letter reversal) or objects, discriminatingbetween size of letters and objects, and matching two dimension to threedimension such as alphabet letters.Visual Form Constancy- which is the ability to see a form and find it among otherforms, although it may be sized different or rotated; Visual form constancy reflects achild’s ability to recognize forms, letters, or words regardless of their orientation(i.e., if a form were upside down, sideways, inverted, etc.). A deficit in this areawould make reading difficult as the child might not recognize familiar letters whenpresented in different styles of print (fonts, size, or color); result in being slower tomaster the alphabet in numbers;16

Visual Memory- Visual memory reflects the child’s ability to store visual details ofwhat has been see in the short-term memory. If details aren’t stored, there will alsobe difficulty accurately recalling, and in some instances reproducing, all of thecharacteristics of a given item. Functionally, a visual-memory deficit may makereproducing figures (letters, numbers, shapes or symbols) from memory causing thechild to mix lower and uppercase letters. Deficits also influence copying from a textor chalkboard, replicating information on worksheets and tests, comprehendingreading, dialing a phone number, remembering sight words, transferring learnedwords from one medium to another, remembering what was read, reproducingfigures from memory.Visual Closure- Visual closure reflects a child’s ability to look at an incompleteshape, object or amount, and fill in the missing details in order to identify what itwould be if it were complete.This skill requires abstract problem solving. Functionally, visual closure impacts astudent’s ability to write, to use worksheets or test forms that are poorlyphotocopied, copy something if he/she cannot see the complete presentation ofwhat is to be copied, complete partially drawn pictures or stencils, spell, completeassignments, complete dot-to-dot worksheets or puzzles, identify mistakes inwritten material, perform mathematics (including geometry), and solve puzzles.17

Visual Figure-Ground-the ability to perceive a form and find it hidden in aconglomerated ground of matter; Visual figure-ground refers to the ability to locateand identify shapes and objects embedded in a busy visual environment, or theability to attend to one activity withoutbeing distracted by other surrounding stimuli. A child with a deficit in this area mayhave difficulty attending to a word on a printed page due to his/her inability toblock out other words around it, difficulty filtering out visual distractions such ascolorful bulletin boards or movement in the room in order to attend to the task athand, difficulty sorting and organizing personal belongings (may appeardisorganized or careless in work), over attend to details and miss “big picture”, oroverlooks details and misses important information (e.g., word recognition, locatingone object within a group, finding place on the page or skips pages and sections,noticing punctuation), difficulty copying from the board and may omit segments ofwords, difficulty recognizing misformed letters and uneven spacing, difficulty withhidden picture activities, may lack visual search strategies, have difficulty locating afriend on the playground or finding a specific item in a cluttered desk. An issue withvisual figure ground also reflects attention and focus, which makes it difficult tocomplete seatwork.18

In assessment I will ask or try to observe child reading and writingDuring reading- do they move their head instead of their eyes, notice distance and positionof how hold stimuli as reading; do they lose place during reading or have to use finger tokeep track; misreading words or numbers or frequent guessing; letter confusion androtation (not just b for d, but b for q, p,)Writing: Spacing between letters and words, formation of letters, staying inside lines; arethey spelling phonetically19






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1. don’t know what source of stimulus is or where its coming from. What-typediscrimination problems can involve any sensory system. Where-type discriminationproblems are difficulties in localizing sources of sensory stimulation either in 3 d spaceor personal body map.2. Difficulty in regulating amount of sensory info that enters conscious awareness. Maysound like selective attention but different; don’t just face competition among variousstimuli for attention rather they experience real sense of danger and threat3. Need additional sensory stimulation; seek abnormally intense or frequent stimulationof various senses. Have difficulty in processing position and pressure cues they receivefrom balance and touch receptors; actively seek movements to stimulate balance,touch, and position sensors.30


Some kids may react with hostility to affection; avoid being hugged; overreact to slightlybeing bumped. Others may tolerate deep pressure but avoid light caressesGrooming such as hair brushing may be an issue, bathing, brushing teeth, cuttingfingernails, etcTextures- finger painting, sand, grass32



Difficulty in learning to walk, roll over, controlling head, sitting up, etc; crawling oftenbegins late; delays in speech, eating, swallowingSitting posture- muscle support and tone35

Kids with SPD often have difficulties in regulation and controlling emotionsSensory regulation is closely related to emotional regulation. Intense emotional responsesmay be because they are interpreting input as danger. Brain works in fight or flightreaction; automatic below level of conscious awareness36


Targeted therapy with controlled sensory stimulation and carefully coordinated sensory andmotor responses, rewiring brain. Most helpful activities involve both isolated andmultimodal sensory inputsGoal to strengthen individual sensory and motor maps to help integrate them with eachother.Hope NetworkKid at Heart38



Auditory processing is crucial because our learning is heavily reliant on auditory system--- think of how teachers teach from early age-talking, singing, etc. Auditory processing issues can be inherited, or acquired (e.g. by problems at birth, or ear infections when young). 3

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