Diagnosing Learning Disabilities & ADHD

Auditory Processing Disorder involves difficulty processing sound as the information travels from the inner ear up to certain parts of the brain. APD is not a hearing deficit….meaning that children with APD typically have normal hearing. Children with Auditory Processing Disorder can have a weakness in one, some, or all of these areas:

Auditory Sequencing – The ability to understand and recall the order of sounds and words. For example, a child might hear the number 254 but write 245 or they might say or write “ephelant” instead of “elephant”.

Auditory Figure-Ground Discrimination – The ability to focus on the important sounds in a noisy setting. It would be like sitting at a sporting event and not being able to hear the person next to you because there is so much background noise.

Auditory Memory – The ability to recall what you have heard, either immediately or later when you need it.

Auditory Discrimination – The ability to notice, compare and distinguish between distinct and separate sounds. For example, the words “fourteen” and “forty” many sound alike.

Students with APD usually have some of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty following oral directions, especially multi-step
  • Often ask for things to be repeated
  • Can be easily distracted by background noise or loud noises
  • Struggle with reading and spelling
  • Struggle with oral math problems
  • Sometime struggle to follow a conversation
  • Have weak musical ability
  • Struggle to learn songs or nursery rhymes

An Auditory Processing Disorder should be diagnosed by a Speech/Language Pathologist. It is important to also have a thorough hearing test by an audiologist to rule out a hearing loss as part of the problem.

Because APD can affect how a student learns and behaves in the classroom, students with APD can often be diagnosed with ADHD or dyslexia before an auditory processing issue is discovered.


For more information on Auditory Processing Disorders, Click here:

Auditory Processing Disorders