Hello! This blog is about my daughter Hailey (currently 12 years old) and her experiences living with auditory processing disorder. Auditory Processing Disorder is Hailey's primary issue, however she has also been given the labels Sensory Processing Disorder, Dyslexia, Visual Processing Disorder, Mixed Expressive Receptive Language Disorder and Phonology Disorder at various points in her life.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Our Brave Daughter: Auditory Processing Disorder Doesn't Stop Her From Jumping Into Social Situations

If you've been following my blog or are at all familiar with my family, you know that our daughter has Auditory Processing Disorder.  In simple terminology,"People with APD intermittently experience an inability to process verbal information. When people with APD have a processing failure, they do not process what is being said to them. There are also many other hidden implications, which are not always apparent even to the person with the disability. For example, because people with APD are used to guessing to fill in the processing gaps, they may not even be aware that they have misunderstood something." (Wikipedia)

So today I dropped our daughter Hailey off at summer camp.  It is a one week girls' overnight camp with a variety of activities including horse back riding and bike riding, which are the two things Hailey is most looking forward to, other than meeting new friends.

Once Hailey got settled into her cabin, one of her cabin mates came over to say hello.  Her name was Brooke and she was a darling red-headed 11 year old with a very cute asymmetrical hair cut.  Over in the corner, her mother was prompting her with hand signals and mouthing the words "Go ahead".  In turn, I turned Hailey around to be looking at Brooke; she had been facing the other way and hadn't realized Brooke was talking to her.  The two girls started making introductions and Brooke's mom quickly waved good bye while exiting the building.

Being the mom that I am, I stepped back a few feet from the girls and tried to inconspicuously watch the conversation that ensued.  Brooke was telling Hailey all about her knowledge of the camp as this was her third summer.  She was also expressing her hope that the theme this year will be Harry Potter as Brooke is a huge Harry Potter fan.  I could tell that Hailey was getting most of what Brooke was saying, but she wasn't catching all of it.  You see, Hailey has a "tell" when she is having difficulty processing what is being said; she repeats the last few words she heard.  This serves double duty as it makes it appear as if Hailey is understanding what is being said, while it slows down the speaker from moving too quickly onto the next sentence.

When I saw Hailey's "tell", my Momma's instincts made me want to jump in and rescue her.  I wanted to get into the conversation and control the flow so that I could ensure Hailey was processing all of it.  However, I am wise enough to know that this would do way more harm than good to Hailey.  Hailey is ten, and a ten year old girl does not want her mother jumping into her conversations.  I am sure this would not do well for her socially. So as hard as it was for me to watch her struggle, I knew I must let her work this on her own.

So like Brooke's mom before me, I took my cue to leave the girls to their own and quickly said my good-byes.  While I walked away, I realized just how immensely proud I am of our daughter.  Despite the difficulties her auditory processing disorder causes her, she bravely jumps right into social situations. She's learned coping techniques, and she doesn't let APD stop her from doing everything and anything she wants.

- originally written July 17, 2011 in my personal blog

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