What Is It Like to Be a Student with Auditory Processing Disorder?
It is commonly known that being a student is never easy since it is followed by many obligations and requirements, first of which being to obtain knowledge and prepare for exams. Even those who did not have direct contact with the system of high education are aware that studying is not a piece of cake, especially if one is engaged in disciplines and fields that are commonly considered complex, such as studying electronics or aiming for a public health degree.
Now, imagine how difficult it would be to be a student with a certain disorder, such as Auditory Processing Disorder, which is directly connected to receiving a certain verbally expressed content. Therefore, the aim of this article is to bring to light what it is like to be a student with such a disorder and what the obstacles that it brings are.
What is Auditory Processing Disorder?
Studying may appear difficult to anyone at least sometimes. Now, imagine how complex it would be for someone who is struggling with a certain disorder that is directly connected to gaining and processing information. One of those disorders is Auditory Processing Disorder. In order to explain what it is like to study while being diagnosed with this disorder, let’s first explain what this term stands for.
Auditory processing disorder (APD) is often referred to as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) and unfortunately, there is a widespread misinformation regarding both of the terms since they are loosely used by individuals who tend to use them to determine a wide range of various mental disorders. Many people apply this term to any child or adult who has difficulties with listening and understanding spoken language.
However, that is nothing but a mistake. In fact, the term Auditory Processing Disorder actually stands for the way in which the central nervous system (CNS) uses and processes auditory information. Since CNS has the responsibility to coordinate with various brain functions, such as memory or language, it is important to determine that APD is exclusively an auditory disorder and has nothing to do with higher-order disorders such as cognitive, language or any related disorder. To understand the nature of APD, it is essential not to mistake if with attention disorders, such as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), in which the auditory input of the central nervous system is intact.
What Are the Main Symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder?
In order to understand how Auditory Processing Disorder affects studying and one’s capability of receiving and processing auditory information, it is crucial to point out what the main symptoms of this disorder are.
Therefore, here is the list of the main symptoms of APD that can be noticed even in the earliest age, in childhood:
- Difficulties in understanding speech in noisy environments
- Having difficulties in following directions
- Discriminating or finding it difficult to distinguish similar-sounding speech sounds
- Difficulties in spelling or reading
- Difficulties in understanding verbally expressed pieces of information
These are the symptoms that can be noticed at children who have just started to attend school since it appears remarkably more complex for them to acquire knowledge and verbally expressed information in comparison to their peers. The same applies to students of various specializations who struggle with this disorder.
How Attention Processing Disorder Affects Studying and How It Can Be Treated
In order to properly describe how exactly Attention Processing Disorder affects studying, especially if one is engaged in a complex field such as aiming for a public health degree, it is important to point out once again that APD is not a result of a higher-order disorder, such as a cognitive or a language disorder. When it comes to the obstacles it brings to a student, a student is less capable of receiving information and the content that is verbally expressed.
To put it simply, it is difficult to the students with APD to listen to oral lectures and capture the information given in them. Therefore, while treating APD and helping the students who struggle with it, it is mostly important to resort to higher-order skills in order for them to compensate for the auditory difficulties.
- When it comes to treating APD, the process mostly focuses on three key strategies, which are:
- Changing the learning environment or communication environment
- Resorting to higher-order skills that will compensate for the disorder
- Applying remediation techniques to the auditory deficit itself
When these aforementioned techniques are imposed on surmounting Auditory Processing Disorder and when attention is paid to including higher-order skills to help a student with APD receive and process information, it will make it easier for them to reach the expectations of their studies and to gain knowledge. To sum up, studying with APD is mostly difficult, but by no means impossible especially with the help of a suitable treatment or useful techniques.