HomeLearning DifficultiesLearning Disabilities & ADHD

Auditory Processing Disorder in Children

Page 2 of 3

By GreatSchools Staff

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

How is suspected auditory processing difficulty diagnosed in children?

You, a teacher, or a day care provider may be the first person to notice symptoms of auditory processing difficulty in your child. So talking to your child's teacher about school or preschool performance is a good idea. Many health professionals can also diagnose APD in your child. There may need to be ongoing observation with the professionals involved.

Much of what will be done by these professionals will be to rule out other problems. A pediatrician or a family doctor can help rule out possible diseases that can cause some of these same symptoms. He or she will also measure growth and development. If there is a disease or disorder related to hearing, you may be referred to an otolaryngologist - a physician who specializes in diseases and disorders of the head and neck.

To determine whether your child has a hearing function problem, an audiologic evaluation is necessary. An audiologist will give tests that can determine the softest sounds and words a person can hear and other tests to see how well people can recognize sounds in words and sentences. For example, for one task, the audiologist might have your child listen to different numbers or words in the right and the left ear at the same time. Another common audiologic task involves giving the child two sentences, one louder than the other, at the same time. The audiologist is trying to identify the processing problem.

A speech-language pathologist can find out how well a person understands and uses language. A mental health professional can give you information about cognitive and behavioral challenges that may contribute to problems in some cases, or he or she may have suggestions that will be helpful. Because the audiologist can help with the functional problems of hearing and processing, and the speech-language pathologist is focused on language, they may work as a team with your child. All of these professionals seek to provide the best outcome for each child.

Comments from readers

"very informative. good article "
"I find it so frustrating that the school system is so backwards. Rather than being proactive they will wait for my 8 year old to fail. How frustrating is it too that because we do not qualify for food stamps, our daughter is not eligable even for supplemental help in NJ. ( NO Child Left Behind Act) I have been basically ignored by the Child Study team and her teachers. Now I feel that they are just pushing her through the system. She gets work back littered with comments and exclamation points, yet i am told she is passing. My daughter comes home and tells me she feels stupid and that the only thing she is good at is spelling, because she can memorize it. It's $125.00 a week for speech thearpy which she desperatly needs. My child needs help, I pay taxes, help her! "
"Check out neurofeedback. Amazing things are happening for kids with ALL types of learning disorders, including auditory processing, due to advances in this area. Especially if your child has auditory processing AND another difficulty such as ADHD. We have seen amazing results without drugs and is completely non-invasive. I feel a real need to tell everyone because of the many misdiagnosis, and years of frustration. We've finally found help to 'cure' these issues. Best of luck to all the parents out there. You are not alone. "
"Great article! May I mention the Able Kids Foundation in Fort Collins, Colorado and their Central Auditory Processing Center that deals with assistance for individuals with APD, especially children."
"This is a reply to Nancy Talcott. I have a story for you. Feel free to email me "
"We are looking to speak to parents of children who have CAPD---whose children are aware that they have it (ages 7-14) and how it impacts their lives. Emmy winning filmmaking team working on major cable television network sensitive, non-exploitative documentary on children with learning differences. NO CHILD MAY PARTICIPATE WITHOUT WRITTEN PARENTAL CONSENT. For more information please contact LDFILM@AOL.COM"
"I'm working on a documentary on children (7-12) with learning differences and am looking for children with auditory processing disorders (apart from those that are often associated with autism) I would love to speak with anyone (and provide the necessary documentation, etc) who has a child or can put me in touch with a family who has a child who fits this profile. This is a film about children, for children, and by children meant to shatter myths about LDs and empower those who participate in it. Nancy.Talcott@hbo.comb"
"My 10 year old son has just been diagnosed with APD. Now I know why he has such a hard time reading. I need help!! I would like to hear from other parents as to how they have helped there child with this disorder. What can I do to help my son better understand his disorder? Other than just read, read and read, to help him improve his reading skills, who can I turn to to help him learn how to read with his disability? His will be enrolled in RSP at his school, but what can I do to help him at home to catch up with his class? Any advise will be appreciated. Thank-you!!"
"The things I need to learn about!"
"Great article! I found it to be very insightful. There is an integrated movement/listening option available, as well. Check out"
"Our son was recently diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder, but the schools won't do anything. He's just turned 7, and they say he is too young and doesn't have the attention span to do Fast ForWord. Aren't the schools suppose to do something? I found this site (CAPD Support) that lists a lot of therapies, but the school is saying they are unproven and therefore won't do them. Where can I go to find out what the guidelines are for school interventions?"
"i have apd and i find this really intresting. When my mum and dad told me what i had i didnt understand but this has made it alot cleare to me . THank you"
"To whom it may concern: My daughter has been diagnosed with auditory processing disorder. We have been adised to see a therapist in the Atlanta area for a cost of $500 per month. Are there any other resources you could recommend? Are there other resources we could use in the Atlanta area? Any help would be appreciated! Regards Mark"
"Please consider adding the book 'Don't You Get It? Living With Auditory Learning Disabilities' to your list of resources. The book describes what and APD is, how to get tested for it, as well as treatments. The book also has personal accounts of people who have lived with the disorder and have successful careers despite their APD. You can view the book at"
"My son was diagnosed with apd at the end of kindergarten. After years of advocating for him, I had myself tested and was diagnosed with apd in my 40's. I have since co-authored a book with a nationally known audiologist by the name of Jay Lucker. The title of the book is 'Don't You Get It? Living With Auditory Learning Disabilities.' It goes over what an apd is, how to test for it, how to treat it, as well as first hand accounts of people who have lived with it. The book is available at"
"I've read through 5 or 6 articles tonight in preparation for a technology-assistance evaluation meeting for my daughter who is dylexsic and has auditory processing disorder. All of them were spot on and, I believe, will equip me well for my meeting. I've printed out a couple of them as reference sources for my meeting. Thank you for making it so easy to find resources and for formatting them in a fashion that makes them easy to read and print."