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What does treatment for APD in children involve?

Auditory processing disorder (APD) cannot be cured, but treatment is effective in improving the individual’s listening skills. Treatment is often conducted by the speech therapist and involves individual speech therapy sessions that focus on stimulating and training the different processing pathways.

The specific focus of therapy depends on the severity of the disorder and the auditory processing profile of the individual. Individuals with APD may also be taught compensatory strategies to help them in different environments.

Intervention also often involves the manipulation of the child’s academic or learning environment. Examples of modifications implemented include the reduction of noise (where possible), the allocation of seating close to teachers and away from distractions (e.g. windows) and the use of visual cues such as documentation or handouts to help children with APD follow the lessons better. Assistive listening devices may also be recommended to ensure that speech signals are amplified and fed directly to the child’s ear.

Strategies to help children with APD

  • Make sure they can see the face of the person speaking to them
  • When giving important instructions, encourage them to stop what they are doing, look at the speaker and listen
  • Keep information and instructions short and simple
  • Don’t rush your instructions
  • Give instructions in a time-ordered sequence using words such as “first”, “next”, and “last”.
  • Check that they have understood the instructions by asking them to repeat them
  • Use visual cues to facilitate their understanding. This can be in the form of words, pictures or gestures
  • Emphasise the important words in the sentence
  • Reduce the background noise in their learning environments

Ref: T12