A year ago, at the age of five, my son was diagnosed with an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). I was relieved to know that all the things that were affecting him academically and emotionally had a name. But at the same time, I felt extremely anxious and overwhelmed. I had a million questions, and only a few answers were readily available to help my son. The information that I did manage to find was either outdated or skewed to prove learning disabilities do not exist.
So what exactly is auditory processing disorder?
The simplest way I can define this disorder is that there is an apparent disconnect between what his ears hear and how his brain processes that information.
How did I know there was an auditory processing issue?
I didn’t. My son has had a speech impairment since he was about two years old. He was seeing an excellent speech therapist who noticed the difficulty he was having in distinguishing sounds in words like ribs and wrist or day and they.
Along with his expressive-receptive speech disorder, she also noticed:
- he would frequently ask her to repeat what she was saying
- he would more times than not appear inattentive and was very easily distracted
- he had difficulty following multistep directions
- he had difficulty retaining and recalling information
Based on her recommendation, my husband and I decided to take him to see a specialized audiologist who determined that he fact did have APD.
Due to the auditory processing he began facing academic challenges especially in the areas of reading (mostly comprehension) and writing. His difficulty recalling what he has read or putting his thoughts on paper has affected his self-esteem greatly. He was underperforming in every subject, and he grew easily frustrated and unmotivated about school.
Finding my very smart and capable little boy feel so defeated forced me to take action. It made me more determined than ever to help him at all cost to show him and everyone else who thought he was broken that he, in fact, can and will succeed.
What has been done to help my son be successful?
First, I dealt with his emotional state and got to the bottom of why he was feeling so uneasy about school. Along with his teachers, we were able to build on his strengths and get him to see all the great things he was capable of accomplishing.
Then, I became his best advocate and learned all I could about APD. I partnered with his school and the Dept. of Education to get him the best services for his needs.
I became completely obsessed with Pinterest to get ideas and resources to help make learning fun at home. I purchased the BEST BOOK EVER - to help teach him to read with confidence.
We recently hired a reading specialist to help him with his reading and comprehension. And finally started him on Fast ForWord, a program specifically designed to help with reading and language skills.
A year into his diagnosis and with all the added help and resources, he has made tremendous academic and personal progress. He is more confident and extremely proud of his accomplishments. We are still working on getting him to advocate for himself when needing help but overall the improvements are astonishing.
We know will have an uphill battle in front of us, but what is important right now is that he has a village of people encouraging him to follow a path that leads him to success.