Symptoms of APD in Elementary School Children

In elementary school, children with Auditory Processing Disorder often have greater difficulty with spelling, reading, and understanding information.  Some children make it through the preschool years without their listening or auditory-attending difficulties being noticed. By being alert to visual cues, picking up on body language, and anticipating what will be said, they have been able to compensate for listening difficulties. In first grade, difficulty with learning to read and mounting frustration results in many children getting identified with Auditory Processing Disorder at this time. Other children may appear to be slow to catch on, but they watch other students when they have not understood what is said.  So, their difficulties go unnoticed until they enter the middle school years, when the listening demands accelerate significantly and picture cues are dropped from textbooks.

Some gifted students also have APD, but since they typically function at grade level, they are not seen as having problems or special needs. Even though these students appear to be functioning reasonably well, they are often performing well below their potential.

Identifying an auditory processing deficit can help to distinguish a learning disability from other causes of underachievement and help prevent the development of the accompanying social and behavioral problems that can result when it is overlooked.

However, it is important to remember that APD symptoms vary from child to child, and not all learning, language, and communication deficits are due to Auditory Processing Disorder.  APD cannot be diagnosed from a checklist because it often shares characteristics with other disorders or delays. However, if your child exhibits some of these symptoms he or she could benefit from an APD evaluation. Getting the right type of intervention in place is essential to putting your child on the fast path to reaching his / her full potential.

Symptoms of APD in Elementary School Children

  • Act as if a hearing loss is present, despite passing hearing screenings
  • Frequently ask  ”huh?” or “what?” and often need information repeated
  • Seem easily distracted or bored when conversations or activities do not include visuals
  • Difficulty understanding spoken information presented in class
  • Difficulty listening and following directions, especially multi-step directions in noisy environments
  • Greater difficulty with verbal than nonverbal tasks
  • Exhibit a language delay  (weak vocabulary and poor sentence structure)
  • Misinterpretation of questions
  • Difficulty understanding announcements over loudspeakers
  • Have articulation errors that persist longer than they should
  • Tend to be distractible, especially when background noise is present
  • Difficulty following classroom discussions, or making off-topic contributions
  • Difficulty carrying on telephone conversations
  • Have poor social communication skills or difficulty making and/or keeping friends
  • Inability to sing in tune and poor musical ability
  • Difficulty understanding  riddles and jokes
  • Misinterpret sarcasm or tone of voices and get feelings hurt easily
  • Become frustrated with certain tasks. (i.e. saying “I don’t understand,” I can’t do this,” or “I don’t know what you mean” )
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Trouble sounding out new words and poor fluency when reading aloud
  • Poor spelling skills
  • Confusion or reversal of letters
  • Difficulty remembering people’s names
  • Display poor memory for words and numbers
  • Difficulty with complex language such as word problems
  • Seeming to ignore others when engrossed in a non-speaking activity
  • Difficulty understanding people who speak quickly
  • Difficulty finding the right words to use when talking
  • Slow or delayed responses to verbal instructions
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