Ins and outs of Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) - could use some info (i.e. IC, Help!)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by SuZir, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    First things first. Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) is very little known issue there I live. It's mostly considered a part of/related to dyslexia and not commonly known at all outside of professional cycles for that. I have to say I didn't know much of anything about it before I came to this board. There was small somethings in difficult child's childhood evaluation reports about it, but that was all I had heard about it.

    However I have started to wonder if this may be part of his issues and would appreciate both links to good sites about it and especially about things that could help. Especially easy to try things that wouldn't draw attention (yeah, I know, not a small order.)

    difficult child will most likely be moving during the summer and will have a new team. His old one has been extremely understanding and patient with him, but there ever he may end up, it is unlikely they would be as understanding. And difficult child is also growing up. Next fall he won't even be teen any more and he will not be getting so much leeway. He absolutely needs to learn to survive with less help than he has been getting.

    He has progressed with some areas of executive functions and necessary off field skills of an athlete. He is more tidy and doesn't forget his stuff any more like he used to. He has become more punctual etc. That is progress, but there are few things that still cause him a lot of unnecessary trouble. It seems that he doesn't catch instructions given to him like he should. The team may be told that this or that is happening at this and that time at this and that day. And somehow difficult child manages to stay totally unaware while certainly being present when it was told.

    In difficult child's evaluations he didn't have problems with understanding heard information. Neither have I noticed anything in one-on-one situations. He learned to speak normally, he speaks two languages in level of native speaker, one more fluently and two more somewhat. He has always been able to follow even complicated verbal instructions if he wants to. He learned to read when he was supposed to and quickly and was always much better than average reader. His academic work has always been on high level. He doesn't have any traditional learning difficulties. He can easily memorize lyrics from songs, understand and remember what is talked in tv or radio, he doesn't have much problem with talking in phone (though he may prefer texts.)

    However I have started to wonder about that auditory figure-ground thingy. When he was small and doing sports, his coaches always kept him close enough to grab hold of him when giving instructions. And often they did need to do so and repeat instructions separately to him - usually with making him to look at him and getting down to his level. While difficult child always hit all the goals in academics, he was so much truant or not paying attention to the teacher he certainly wasn't learning those things while at school. However he is incredibly quick on taking in information from books. I always thought it was just that he preferred books to lessons because that was quicker and his little different approach on how he takes in that information (he goes from big to small, not building a big from small like school usually teaches.)

    Now to me it seems that instructions he is currently easily missing are ones, that are given over loud locker room hassle etc. He also does have some difficulties doing what he is told during practises (situation is basically that there is a lot loud background noise but he is instructed one-on-one by coach who is either close or shouting from farther away.) That can of course be just him being oppositional, belligerent and stubborn but his positional coach did describe it "difficult child needing more time to process and think through his (coach's) suggestions." If I haven't understood totally wrong, that could be also Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) issue and not just difficult child being difficult in purpose.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You don't need links. You basically gave a very good definition of auditory figure ground!
    It's subtle because it doesn't affect language processing, and most testing is done in a quiet environment.
    But in real life - from classroom to sports field to most "public" settings, the background noise has a huge impact.
    People with this problem have to put so much effort into "hearing" in that setting that there isn't much brain power left for "processing".

    Not sure if he can use the classical intervention for this or not... haven't seen it done for sports, HAVE seen it done in the classroom. It's a "personal FM system", where the teacher has a mic (on a loop that goes around the teacher's neck) and the student has a receiver direct to the ear. The system adjusts the teacher's voice to be about 20 decibels louder than the background noise.

    Whether or not he can get tested for it, it's really easy to just "try" the intervention.
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Hmm, after making some research it seems that FM systems are used here only/mostly by hearing impaired so finding one to try when one is not using hearing aid can be difficult. Would any kind of walkie-talkie systems with earplugs have any similar effect? Those they have laying around plenty, also the ones that are meant to be used in noisy places that have some background noise dulling and speech emphasizing effect. Also those used in motor sports could most likely be something they would have an access to.

    That kind of thing could be something that could work in practise situations. Those announcements he misses are of course so random etc. that that kind of accommodation wouldn't be handy. But maybe simply asking them write those things up to white board (they tend to always have one) would be simple and effective and also help others. or asking that they would send difficult child a electric copy of timetable and texts of any changes. It wouldn't be that big thing to ask so it should be doable.

    difficult child's current positional coach would most likely be willing to try new things with difficult child but their off season training till mid summer will be very different than their normal training. They will train fitness and basic athletics and situation is different and difficult child really doesn't need to hear much when there is background noise. And if he does miss something, he can just go and do what others are doing and no one notices anything. So not the best time for testing. And when they start their normal training difficult child will likely already be somewhere else and of course in this point we don't have any idea how helpful his new coaches will be.

    And I may still need those links. You see, I'm just a mom. And while I do have basic level comprehension of Macho BS, I'm far from fluent and my expressive skills in it are very limited. However we do have difficult child's mental coach/sport psychiatric who is fluent in both normal people speech and Macho BS and would be much more effective in trying to explain the issue to any given person we would need to help with this. His expertise isn't in this area so I don't believe he has much knowledge, if any, of Auditory Processing Disorders (APD). As I said, it is not well-known at all around here. So giving him some info and telling him that this is something that could be worth a try with difficult child would be easiest way to make it happen.

    Formal testing for it doesn't seem to be an easy option and I'm not sure if it would be of much help anyway. If absolutely necessary it could be done though, maybe not in this country but within sensible flying distance. (It doesn't seem to be unknown in UK for example and there is private testing available.)
  4. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Check out the iSense from phonak. There are in European countries as well as North America (you are in EU, if I understood right). It is an FM system that is meant for normal or near normal hearing people and if it is sold over there, it means there is a market which means there as to be doctors to prescribe it. A person cannot buy it without an audiologist.
    It is versatile enough that your difficult child could do sport with it in his ear (can't get wet though). It is very small, specially for an adult ear. The coach would wear the microphone around his neck.
    Every thing else that woud be low quality would just create other and more issues (we've sone that and it was not working). Some are good quality but bulky with wires... not practical in a sport situation.
    Although we are not 100% sure, husband has probably some forms of Auditory Processing Disorders (APD). He's biggest strategy to compensate: lip reading. He taught himself. Obviously does not work in every situations but it is a big help to him. He now does it without thinking about it. Maybe your difficult child could learn to focus on people's lips. I don't know if anyone could formely teach him... might be hard to find.
    I'm sorry I don't have any good links on hand. But for me, the easiest way to understand it: it's like a foreign language, even though you heard what was being said it can take a minute to process it and make sense of it. A language that you don't completely master yet is also harder to understand in noisy situation. I believe you guys speak more than 1 language, so maybe you can relate to it. I certainly can! lol There are sveral forms of Auditory Processing Disorders (APD), but this explanation kind of covers the basics. Without thorough testings, it's near impossible to know which Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) is really affecting your son.
  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Ktlc: Thanks. That Phonak's iSense was the best looking thing that came up in my quick research too. Though getting wet could be a real problem. But that is not something to just try to find out if it could be helpful. It would be more like a long term solution if it seems that it could be really helpful.

    Someone to diagnose basic Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) could be found near enough, but for figure ground thingy it seems that closest possibilities for testing would likely be in German. And I of course don't know about how testing is done and how much it would hinder that difficult child's German skills are far from fluent. His English is much better so that could make UK better option, if it seems testing would be a way to go. Around here only thing they really talk about background noice is how it effects learning with all kids, how it affects stress levels of both kids and adults etc. Nothing about it with Auditory Processing Disorders (APD).

    And you are right, we speak more than one language and actually difficult child is mostly coached in other language than his first. Usually in his second language with which he is fluent but he has also had coaches who coach in English (while that not necessary being their first language.) That isn't probably helping much either.

    In fact in difficult child's sport and in most practise situations there he does have to take in instruction bulky and wired wouldn't be that much of the problem and he doesn't need to process much of auditory things in games. Mostly just very short 'code' words like left, right, behind you, in front, here, there, be careful, no hurry etc.
  6. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    since bulky is no issue, check the amigo FM from Oticon. It is a bit more reasonably priced.
    I understand it would be a long term solution (who would invest that much money just for a few months?), but keep in mind there is a 30 day trial. So if it is no help at all, you can return the device (phonak does that. Oticon.. not sure).
    You can also order the iSense online but it has to deliver to a hearing professional. So ultimately, this hearing professional (ENT or audiologist) does NOT have to be familiar with Auditory Processing Disorders (APD). But obviously, it always better to have a knowledgeable person to guide you and tweak the device if needs be.
    on the other hand, your difficult child is a lot older than V and might be able to monitor the benefits better and give useful feedback.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    In football, they have a speaker wired into the helmet - and it's not even for Auditory Processing Disorders (APD).
    Maybe a general sports-related solution might work, especially because that's where he needs it?
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    They don't understand APDs much here either. They told me my daughter had an auditory processing problem and explained it as not understanding certain speech that was told to her, like directions. She understood conversation just fine. In retrospect, I don't even know if she had any processing problem :/

    I don't think APDs are understood well in most schools.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) specialist here - the PhD level audiologist - says that the number of referrals she gets doesn't come anywhere close to the volume that research says should be out there.

    Given the number of hoops we had to jump through... it's amazing ANYBODY gets the diagnosis... but SOME do. Enough that we can prove that the problem really exists.

    School here actually believed us before we got the diagnosis... but cannot spend money on the FM systems without the diagnosis, which of course is hard to get...
  10. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    That kind of things would be very convenient for them to try. If trying anything like that would give any hint that this kind of thing could really be helpful, then getting through the hassle to get a real thing, would make more sense.

    Of course trying anything right now is not an option. I wouldn't be surprised if difficult child would spend his next few weeks with exercise bike in darkest corner they can find - with a gag in his mouth. Transfer difficult child was hoping didn't work out and difficult child is about as good mood and as co-operative and willing to try anything than just woken up spring bear, who got shot on to the rear end with rock salt (for those of you who are not familiar with bear psyche, that isn't very.)

    So better to wait and try to find info I could share with difficult child's mental coach and sell idea to him first. Even when difficult child is back in better mood, any suggestion that comes from mental coach is much more likely to be given serious thought than something mom suggests.