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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Graphic Novels Have Made My Pre-Teen a Book Lover

I absolutely cannot say enough great things about graphic novels (anime/manga/etc).  My daughter who has auditory processing disorder and mild visual processing disorder which both contribute to her dyslexia, has found them to be an amazing avenue into the world of fiction.

You see, unlike traditional novels, graphic novels have pictures that tell the majority of the story, with the words being there to aid the pictures as needed. Being a visual thinker, pictures are her natural way of processing the world.  Pictures are how her memory best retains information.  So a story told through pictures is ideal for her.  She can process it quickly and easily.  So she gets to enjoy the story rather than struggling through processing all those words that are in traditional novels.

Along the way, she is reading the words that go along with the pictures.  This is building her sight vocabulary, her fluency, and more importantly, her confidence in reading!

I have a daughter who adores reading now!  She consumes her graphic novels from the library and begs to go back for more each and every week.

(UPDATE:  My daughter Hailey told me that if you read just the words, you'll only get part of the story, and if you just look at the pictures, you'll only get part of the story.  She says you have to do both.)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lindsey Simpson: An Inspirational Young Woman Who Happens to Have Auditory Processing Disorder

Lindsey Simpson is a high school senior, artist, amazing photographer, and wonderfully inspiring young woman.  She is devoutly religious and credits God for always being there for her, supporting her, and helping her to be the amazing person He created her to be.

As a young child, Lindsey struggled in school and her parents, although knowing something was not quite right, did not know why.  In 7th grade, she was blessed with a math tutor who suggested that her parents get her tested for auditory processing disorder.   To her parents and her relief, they finally had the answer they had been looking for!
“My spirits went sky high because I finally had an answer as to why I struggled so much.  I started to get accommodations and my grades improved.  I felt so relieved that there was a real reason for my struggles and it wasn’t my fault for doing so poorly.”

Although Lindsey continued to have to work very hard academically and rarely got the high marks children without learning disabilities/special needs did, she managed to succeed in getting honored with acceptance into the Beta Club (a high academic honor) her junior year!  It was the first time she was publicly recognized for her hard academic work.  Never shying away from hard work, Lindsey has also earned the honor of being editor of her high school yearbook and vice-president of the art club.

Beyond academic success, Lindsey has found that she is very talented in the arts.  Not even having graduated from high school yet, Lindsey has honed her entrepreneurial spirit and started her own photography business, Linds LensPhotography.  She has done many professional shoots for people and decided that this is her life’s passion.  “I wouldn’t want to do anything else!”

A phenomenal artist, Lindsey also paints and her artistic expression of what it is like to live with auditory processing disorder won 2nd place in the 2012 Hidden Thoughts of LD Art Competition! 

"I have Auditory Processing Disorder. This is a painting of an ear with a question mark inside it. The colors on the right side represent sound in reality and the colors on the left side represent the sound through my ears. My ears and brain don’t connect right, so the things I hear sound broken and often don’t make sense. I can put bits and pieces together, but it’s hard to put it all together to make sense of everything that I hear."

After graduating high school, Lindsey plans on taking art-related classes at her local university.  Her goal is not necessarily to graduate with a degree, but to enhance her artistic abilities which she can use for all her creative pursuits and especially her intended career as a professional photographer.  Her hope is that her photography business will eventually provide her with a full-time income.

Outside of school, her photography business, and her art, Lindsey also co-founded a support group for teenagers with auditory processing disorder.  Reaching out for connection herself, she met another teenager with auditory processing disorder through a Facebook support group.  They were both so happy to have someone who understands what they are going through being a teenager with APD and became such great friends, they decided to share that experience with others.  They wanted other teenagers to feel the same support and understanding that has so blessed their own lives.

Being the kind, compassionate young woman that she is, Lindsey also reaches out to people whose lives have been affected by auditory processing disorder through her personal blog, apdgirl.blogspot.com, where she writes of her experiences as well as by being a personal mentor/older friend to some preteens with APD.

Lindsey is also very active with her church and volunteers her time to teach 2 year olds on Sunday mornings.  “I love little kids because they’re so precious and they don’t judge you.  They love you for who you are and don’t even notice your flaws.”

When asked what advice she would give to children with auditory processing disorder, Lindsey had this to say:
“I want every kid with any learning disability to understand that they're not alone. It's easy to be down on yourself and assume you're the only one. But I want them to know they're not and I'm living proof of that! Be confident and don't be afraid to ask if you need something repeated and don't be ashamed either. There's nothing 'wrong' with you, you just have a unique perspective that others don't have!" 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Robyn Young: An Inspirational Young Woman Who Happens to Have Auditory Processing Disorder

Robyn Young is a University student at St Thomas University pursuing her Bachelor of Arts.  She intends to eventually be either a social worker or a speech language pathologist, where she will have the opportunity to do what she is so talented at doing: helping other people.  Already having helped other teenagers with Auditory Processing Disorder by co-founding a Facebook teenage support group, writing a blog of her experiences being a young woman with APD, as well as being a personal mentor to some preteens with APD, Robyn has shared her heart and experience with many others, fostering courage and self-esteem. 
“Lindsey Simpson and I met on one of the APD groups a little over a year ago now.  After talking to each other for about a month and being so grateful to have one another for support - having someone to talk to who understands and has no judgments - we wanted to open that experience to other teens with APD so they could meet and make supportive, understanding friends.”

Robyn inspires people by her support and her positive attitude.  Feeling her biggest accomplishment to date is having graduated from high school and getting accepted into every university she applied to, she has worked hard academically.  Even though she had to study long hours and suffered teasing from fellow students along the way, she never gave up and succeeded in passing her very challenging 12th grade final examinations standardized by the Newfoundland government.

Another major accomplishment for Robyn has been overcoming her fear of public speaking.  Looking back over her life, she always felt uncomfortable speaking in front of other people, but could get up and sing beautifully.   In 11th grade, she decided to put herself out there and got involved in the drama club and public speaking.  She practiced reading aloud her speech for many, many hours and was able to conquer her stuttering and her fear; she did so well she managed to win first place at a club level competition!  Now she feels that skill will help her throughout her life.
“I am so glad that I now have those skills to be a leader because I think that will take me a long way in the ‘real world’ and it has done wonders for my self-esteem and social skills.” 
Robyn has become a support for many others, but who were her supporters? 
“First and foremost would be my mom.  It is because of her strong willed personality and determination with everything she does, that I am the determined woman I am today.  She has helped me to remain confident.”

Besides her mother, Robyn was also very fortunate to have a high school guidance counselor who didn’t know much about auditory processing disorder in the beginning, but learned along the way and became an advocate for Robyn and her journey.  This counselor is still available and helpful to Robyn even though she is no longer a student at the high school.

Finally, one teacher can make a huge difference in a child’s life.  Robyn had one such teacher in her 9th grade English teacher.  He was kind, patient, and believed in Robyn even though she struggled with language, both written and oral.  He took the time to work with her and helped her develop her skills.  As evidenced by her wonderful blog posts at Auditory Processing Disorder: Breaking the Silence of this Silent Disorder, her writing is well written and powerfully motivating.

When asked what bit of advice she would give to children with auditory processing disorder, she thoughtfully replied:
“If I could give the younger generation of APDers any advice, it would be to believe in themselves no matter what life throws your way.  That may seem pretty generic and typical, but when you have APD, that advice can go a long way.  There will be so many days when you feel like you’re nothing and can’t possibly go anywhere, however that is not true!  Just always remember to never be afraid to ask for help, never give up, and believe that you can do it!”