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.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Strategies for Managing Auditory Processing Disorder

The management of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) consists of three main categories: 1) Environmental Modifications; 2) Remediation (Direct Therapies); and 3) Compensatory Strategies.

As not every person with Auditory Processing Disorder has the same exact problems to the same exact extent, it is important to keep in mind that not all strategies work for everyone nor are all needed for everyone.  Moreover, many times Auditory Processing Disorder is one disability/difference of many for an individual; some conditions such as Dyslexia, Sensory Processing Disorder, Visual Processing Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and various language disabilities are common co-existing conditions.

Environmental Modifications:

Environmental modifications are things that are done to make the environment for a person with Auditory Processing Disorder most able to function at his or her best for learning, working, and/or living.  Some examples of these are*:

  • Preferential seating to be nearest the speaker and away from environmental noises such as heaters or fans;
  • Visual cues and aids used in presentations to assist with comprehension of the material being covered;
  • Written notes provided so that full attention can be on the speaker and not on trying to take notes at the same time;
  • Study guides or outlines provided before the lecture so that the person with APD can become familiar with the material and vocabulary ahead of time;
  • A school FM sound system or a personal FM system to allow the person with APD to hear the speaker directly without as much environmental noise;
  • The speaker pausing at phrases rather than speaking in long, complicated sentences;
  • Always insuring that the person with APD has the ability to see the face of the speaker;
  • Permitting the person with APD more time to process information - both input and output;
  • Provide or allow the use of lists or other devices (such as recording devices) to assist with auditory memory problems; 
  • Noise reducing headphones for the person with APD who is sensitive to sound when direct listening is not necessary - such as during a test or when reading;
  • For the young child, picture cards are a valuable asset to assisting the child with communication. These can be made at home or purchased; and
  • Many publishers of textbooks (Harcourt Brace, Houghton Mifflin, Pearson, Macmillian/ McGraw Hill, Holt McDougal & Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Pearson Prentice-Hall, Pearson K-12) also have electronic textbooks that are available.  They are interactive and play on a computer.  I've been told that school districts are the only ones that can order them at the k-12 level.  I've also been told that some are accessible to be read by a text to speech reader application such as Adobe Acrobat 6. This is something to look into if reading speed is a problem for the student with APD.  

Remediation (direct therapy):

Remediation is controversial for Auditory Processing Disorder.  There are a number of therapy programs available and all have mixed results.  Some people may find one therapy incredibly helpful while others may find that same therapy to be useless.  

Remediation should also be aimed at the particular needs/circumstance of the individual with Auditory Processing Disorder.  Therefore, if a child is having problems processing speech, a speech therapist would be advisable.  If a child is having difficulties learning to read, a reading intervention program would make sense. Keeping this in mind, here is a list of some possible therapies*:

Compensatory Strategies:

Compensatory strategies are ways in which the person with Auditory Processing Disorder uses other skills to help him or her best cope with his or her auditory processing problems.  These are language, conversation, organizational, and social skills that have been taught or encouraged and practiced.  Some examples of these are:

  • Identifying body language and facial expressions;
  • Lip reading;
  • Social skills training such as role playing different scenarios;
  • Using the practice of rephrasing what someone says as a way to halt the conversation and use that time to better process what was said and compose a response;
  • Speaking up for oneself and one's needs such as asking people to repeat or clarify something;
  • Utilizing environmental modifications such as making a point of positioning one's self near to and looking at a speaker as much as possible;
  • Using texting or e-mail to communicate;
  • Using written reminders or lists to compensate for auditory memory problems; and
  • Use visualization techniques to remember things: make a picture in one's mind of the event or concept.

* All links posted here are only one company providing the service or product listed.  Please research to find which provider you prefer.


  1. So, I'm just new to your blog. My 10 yr. old daughter has not been formally diagnosed with APD, but it is obvious to me. We live in the U.S., and the school has been slow to help much besides do speech therapy, which she doesn't really need. She will be phased out of it after this year, since she will be entering middle school, and it would be difficult to fit this in to the school day. Honestly, there are worse kids out there that need the speech, in my opinion. At the end of the year the school psychologist will test her, but I'm not expecting a lot in terms of info. or accomodations. This summer we will be going to the Abel kids foundation in Colorado to get her tested, and perhaps fitted with ear filters if she needs them. I'm wondering if that is the right thing to do. Do any of you know anything about this. I notice it isn't in your article here. I'm wondering if I should just save the money and get private testing from a psychologist here, which might give us a broader look at her disabilities, and help with accomodations at school next year. She's starting middle school, and I'm anticipating a lot of issues with transitions, keeping track of homework, remembering to take homework home, taking notes, etc. Any help would be appreciated!!!

    1. Hi! Thanks for posting. I know of a few families who went to Abel Kids and they were very happy with the testing and information. Some kids liked the ear filters and some did not; some parents reported improvement in their kids with the filters and some felt it wasn't significant. So definitely the testing and information is great and the ear filters are really dependent on your child. Also, it is an audiologist who specializes in auditory processing disorder who can diagnose it. So if you choose not to got to Abel Kids, make sure you find an audiologist knowledgeable about APD. A psychologist may suspect APD but cannot do the actual testing to diagnose it. When you do get the results of the testing back, you should be told what areas are difficult for your daughter and given some recommendations. I would say go with your instincts - a parent's instincts are usually right. If you think it is APD, get her tested for it by a reliable audiologist. Good luck!

  2. You are best seeing a Audiologists who specializes in Auditory Processing! They can recommend what therapy might be needed ( this may also include seeing a speech therapist who is trained to work with children with APD)

  3. :) Definitely an audiologist who specializes in Auditory Processing Disorder can be a huge help, as well as they are the only ones who can officially diagnose APD.


    1. It really depends on the insurance. Ours did not cover it.

  5. I know that APD falls under Speech Therapy. However, As the child reaches another stage in his processing disorder when he reaches middle and high school and one can pinpoint his weakness, who can help him with the disorder if the Speech Therapist can no longer offer anymore help for the child? She states that from now on at age 13 he must use his stategies in the classroom and she sees nothing else to do for him but just monitor and rely on the teachers for information. How do we treat APD from this point on?

    1. You can get a diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorder from an audiologist who specializes in it. They can give you a list of classroom accommodations that can help like having all videos subtitled, making sure the teacher makes eye contact so the child can lip read, and having directions written down. Lip reading seems to be the most helpful skill in coping with auditory processing disorder; most children end up teaching this to themselves, but you can see if the speech therapist can help.

  6. We went through almost all of your Direct Strategies and after spending a ton of money, we went to Able Kids. Dr. Locke and filters worked for a then 8 year old and my 18 yr old as well. Her filter gave VERY positive results in less than 2 weeks and after 8 years, she has almost outgrown her issues. I would heartily recommend it to anyone who is thinking about it.

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  8. Our son just turned 27 and he has APD. It is amazing to me what is available now that was not when he was a child.

    I can tell you where he is today. He is getting his Post-Bach in education and is completing his semester of student teaching. He will be an elementary school teacher in the fall.

    Two programs that really helped him were Fast4ward and percussion along with piano lessons. He majored in music.