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Is Auditory Processing Prohibiting Your Child's Learning Abilities?

Updated on August 26, 2015

Auditory Process Problems

Many preschool and elementary aged children are displaying difficulty in their learning ability skills. These children are normal developing children with no known syndromes or diseases that will prohibit their learning skills. So you want to know: why isn't my child learning? The cause of the learning problem may be due to Auditory Processing difficulty.

What is Auditory Processing? Auditory processing is the ability to discriminate and attend to various sounds. Some people may confuse auditory processing with hearing loss because of the child's difficulty discriminating sounds within his/her environment. The child does hear the sound but has difficulty discriminating between closely sounding sounds (i.e., Dan/sand) or assigning meaning to sounds in phrases, sentences, and conversations. According to Diane Paul-Brown (2008), Frank Musiek, audiologist and researcher in this area, has described auditory processing as, "How well the ear talks to the brain, and how well the brain understand what the ear tells it". This specific learning difficulty can have an adverse affect on a child's ability to effectively process information within their environment.

Auditory processing can hinder a child's learning ability making it seem as though the child have a difficult time learning or can't learn. The reason is not that the child cannot learn but that the child's brain and hearing component have a difficult time connecting. What this means, is that the child may hear a portion of a sentence (e.g. "I'm going to the store, do you want me to bring you something back?). The child may have heard a few words of the sentence, more than likely, it is the first part of the sentence that they cannot recall. Can you imagine the stress on a child in a learning environment with auditory processing. This my bring about challenging behaviors because of the frustration of not understanding his environment.

There are plenty of educational software aimed at helping a child improve his hearing acuity. One of my favorite interactive software is earobics, but there are plenty to choose from on the world wide web. You may search the internet to find a list of software and activities that may improve a child's brain and hearing connection. Playing games like 'simon says' or board games that require a listener to tune in to specific messages can help sharpen a child's ability to focus on oral messages.

Word recall/phrase recall/sentence recall/short story recall are also other ways to strengthen a child's brain-hearing function.

For more information on Auditory Processing and how you can help your child overcome this problem please visit the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and search for "Let's Talk: Auditory Processing Problems in Children".

Below are some characteristics of auditory processing

difficulty following directions

difficulty spelling words

leaves out letter or words in retelling a story or in conversation

difficulty with sound sequencing

difficulty differentiating one sound from another

After reading the article you believe your child may have auditory processing problems, please visit an audiologist for an assessment. The assessment will determine if your child needs speech-language therapy to rectify the problem. Speech-language therapists are the experts in providing therapy for children with this specific learning problem.

About The Author

Cynthia Willis, M.Ed., CCC-SLP is a licensed and nationally certified speech-language pathologist. She currently provides telepractice speech-language pathology services. What is telepractice speech-language pathology services? Telepractice speech services is speech-language pathology services by teleconference such as Skype. Please visit for more information.

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