Auditory Processing (AP) Program
A sensible way to help students who are experiencing auditory processing problems
Understanding why auditory processing problems cause academic delays
All too often teachers and parents are aware that their student isn’t working up to his/her academic potential. Sometimes we know the reason but most of the time it is not so obvious. Our research tells us that somewhere between 3% and 10% of the general population experiences auditory processing problems – some mild, some moderate, and some sever. These processing problems usually occur even though the student has normal hearing. Basically, the auditory nerves that take information from the ear to the correct part of the brain get distracted in route causing the information to get delayed or distorted. There is nothing wrong with the student’s brain, in fact, many times these students are actually very bright students — they just have something running interference with the messaging system making it difficult to learn. The information getting interrupted or slowed can be as little as a single sound within a word or as much as one or two complete words. With this going on, it is no wonder he or she has difficulty keeping up academically.
Mild, Moderate, or Severe
My experience has taught me that most of the student population experiencing auditory processing problems falls into the mild range of severity. A smaller number of students with auditory processing problems fall into the moderate range of severity and the smallest number of students with processing problems make up the group that we would consider to be in the severe range. The students in that severe range are the ones who are more obvious and therefore, are the ones that get identified, tested, and recipient of services. Ironically enough, these students make up the smallest number of individuals who need additional support and the students that make up the largest group of students needing extra support for auditory processing problems many times get overlooked. We sometimes say those are the students that “fall between the cracks”, “don't work up to their potential”, or sometimes we even think of them as being “lazy” when it comes to academics.
How to Help
Any teacher or parent concerned about a student because they see that the student isn't progressing academically, isn't able to keep up, generally seems to be lost academically, or has to work excessively hard in order to keep up should complete the AP Program questionnaire. This questionnaire will first of all help identify whether or not processing auditory information is a challenge for the student you are concerned about. It will also help you figure out what would be the appropriate first steps in providing appropriate academic support — online tutoring, classroom accommodations, or additional testing.