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, October 30, 2012

Don’t Make Judgments about Things You Don’t Understand

There has been some talk among parents of children with Auditory Processing Disorder about the lack of tact that other adults exhibit sometimes.  It seems that there is a good amount of people who express judgments about APD without thinking about how their words are impacting the people around them.

Auditory Processing Disorder is very much an invisible disability. It is not something that people can see by looking at the person with APD, and with adequate coping skills, people with APD can appear to not be having any difficulties due to their APD. When they do have difficulties, non-understanding individuals sometimes attribute it to a lack of trying.

Most school districts are completely oblivious to Auditory Processing Disorder.  Many psychologists link APD to Attention Deficit Disorder and want to treat it as such.  Family and friends may think it is nothing other than the child being lazy or willfully not listening.  Others cannot see the disability and so treat it as if it is not there, which is good psychologically by not emphasizing the disability but rather the person, but not good when not providing understanding and adequate modifications when necessary.

These opinions and lack of understanding hurt the child with the disability and the parents of that child too.  When someone says things like “He’s just lazy”, “You let him get away with too much”, “Why doesn’t she try harder”, it is hurtful because it does not respect the person with APD’s hard work or the parent’s good parenting. 

When people say things like “It’s no big deal” it is also hurtful.  This statement does not respect the real struggles that people with Auditory Processing Disorder have to work through.

Conversely people who go to the other extreme and express pity and “I could never deal with that” attitudes also hurt.  Auditory Processing Disorder is not a death sentence and it doesn’t mean people with APD cannot live happy, successful lives.

Of course I cannot speak for all people, but my daughter with Auditory Processing Disorder (and Dyslexia) wishes to be treated as a “normal” girl who has a disability that sometimes interferes with her ability to process language.  She wants understanding and not pity.  She wants people to understand that she is smart, capable, works hard, and just needs some more time or different ways to get things done sometimes.  Other times, she can do things exactly like anyone else.

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