Friday, November 7, 2014

Management of Auditory Processing Disorders (APD)

Typically, an auditory processing disorder results in a significant deficit in how the brain perceives and interprets sound information. Poor auditory processing abilities negatively impact the use of spoken language, receptive and expressive communication, academic learning and social skills.

Research indicates that with appropriate intervention, children with APD can become active participants in their own listening, learning, and communication success. Thus, when auditory rehabilitation is navigated carefully, accurately, and appropriately, an individual’s prognosis is good in spite of being afflicted with APD.

Treatment of APD generally focuses on three primary areas:

1. Changing the learning or communication environment
The primary purpose of environmental accommodations and/or modifications is to improve access to auditorily presented information are often listed in a student’s 504 Plan.

2. Learning and using compensatory strategies
Compensatory strategies teach individuals with APD to take responsibility for their own listening success or failures. The individual uses a variety of active listening and problem-­‐solving techniques to be an active participant in daily listening activities.

3. Auditory Rehabilitation for APD
Auditory Rehabilitation targets maximizing auditory processing skills rather than only putting accommodations in place that are usually visual in nature and do not impact the auditory disorder. Research shows that vision is not a good substitute for hearing. If it were, APD would not present with such challenges.

Auditory Rehabilitation Therapy involving a systematic program of auditory training
includes two main areas:

Improving the individual’s auditory processing, auditory memory and auditory attention
1. auditory association abilities.
2. auditory comprehension and direction following abilities.
3. auditory closure abilities.
4. auditory memory ability to retain auditory information both immediately and after a delay.
5. auditory memory sequencing.
6. linguistic auditory processing for higher-­‐level language, learning and
7. auditory processes for auditory integration.
8. ability to attend to important auditory information including attending in the midst of competing background noise and verbal distractions.

9. auditory comprehension/receptive and expressive language including vocabulary, syntax, morphological markers, complex sentence structures, conceptual language, social and pragmatic language.
10. communication repair strategies and clarification techniques

Recruiting higher-­order skills to help compensate for the auditory deficit
Examples based on an individual’s needs are targeted and may include such as learning and using:
a) auditory retrieval strategies to improve word retrieval of known but evasive vocabulary
b) synonyms to circumvent word-­‐finding blocks
c) categorization or grouping to facilitate auditory memory
d) chunking to aide in recall of sequences of numbers and other types of information 

e) mnemonic devices to assist in auditory memory
f) creating and use of a verbal description when referring to concrete items and situations

The degree to which an individual’s auditory deficits will improve with therapy cannot be determined in advance. However, with appropriate auditory rehabilitation, individuals with APD can become active participants in their own listening, learning, and communication success. 

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