Dear Center for Special Needs Coordinator,
My child’s report card just came in the mail, and it shows that my son “needs improvement” in most of the areas. His teacher wrote that he is does not seem to be paying attention or listening to directions and says my son may have an auditory processing problem. What should I do?
I understand how difficult it is to learn that your child is struggling in school and may have a problem that is impacting his ability to learn. An auditory processing problem is one of several possibilities that may be impacting his functioning in the classroom. First, let’s understand what an auditory processing problem means.
Auditory processing is the ability to understand spoken or auditory language in a meaningful way. What does it look like? If you have ever had a bad connection on the internet, then you understand how a child with auditory processing deficits appears in the classroom or at home. It takes a long time for information to upload, or only a portion of the information uploads correctly. Children with a difficulty in this area often have to be told several times what to do or how to do it in order for them to fully process all of the information they need. Auditory processing problems often mimic attention deficit disorders, so children are frequently misdiagnosed.
Before you jump in to full testing with an educational diagnostic therapist, have your child’s hearing tested. Hearing is highly important for the development of a child’s speech and language development. If hearing is intact, poor listening skills may be a result of poor auditory processing or cognitive delays (learning disabilities).
An audiologist can perform tests that evaluate if your child has an auditory processing deficit and suggest supports that can be done at home and at school. If the audiologist feels that his hearing is normal, then a psycho-educational diagnostic therapist can provide a full battery of testing that evaluates how your son learns and if he has a learning disability.
The first step is to have a discussion with your son’s teacher. If the teacher feels that your child is struggling to complete school work, there are many summer programs designed to stimulate his mind and get your child’s learning skills of memory, processing speed, reasoning and comprehension working for him rather than against him.
For more information about auditory processing, visit The American Speech Language-Hearing Association www.asha.org
If you have further questions, feel free to contact me.
Danielle Wiltchik, M.S. Sp.Ed.
Jewish Federation & Family Services
Center for Special Needs, Coordinator