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.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I Don't Want To Be Cute - I Want To Be Heard (The Speaking Slip-Ups of APD)

Recently Hailey (my intelligent, well-spoken, teenage daughter with auditory processing disorder) and I had a discussion about being heard - truly heard by people.  She mentioned how she doesn't like it when people laugh when she says something "wrong" or substitutes the wrong word when speaking - like restaurant for restroom.  Everyone knows what she meant and so to point it out to her is really not very thoughtful.  However, when confronted by this, those same people always remark that they are not being unkind but they simply think it is "cute". 

I remember growing up and having the same experiences.  I was seven years old when my family moved from Massachusetts to Georgia in the mid-seventies.  Not only did I have to learn how to listen to people's thick southern accents and understand them, but people judged me based on my thick Boston accent; I was called a "Yankee" and teased and sometimes even ostracized.  So I immediately got to work on losing that Boston accent and learning the southern one.  It worked and within no time at all, people didn't even realize I was a "Yankee" and I was treated much better.

When I was eleven, my family moved from Georgia to California.  This time, I had no problem understanding the Californians and their non-accent, but again my accent - my southern accent this time, caused me some anguish.  Whenever I would speak, people would laugh and ask me to "Say that again."  It infuriated me that they weren't listening to what I was saying but rather how I was saying it.  I was continually told how "cute" my accent was and I didn't like it.  I wanted my words to be heard and my meanings to be understood.  I did not want to be "cute".  So again, I immediately got to work on changing my accent.

People with auditory processing disorder (APD) can't just change their accent; they can work hard at learning proper speech and yet slip-ups happen.  Hailey had private, very-expensive and very valuable speech therapy for eight years.  She has a tremendously good sense of grammar and a large vocabulary.  She no longer has any phonological issues.  However, her APD can cause her to substitute words or mispronounce a word - even though she knows it to be wrong when pointed out to her.  It's just the way it is with auditory processing disorder and using context, any listener can easily figure out what she means.

Like anyone - especially an intelligent young woman with a voice that wants to speak and be heard, people with APD don't want their voice to be dismissed lightly as "cute" or to be discriminated against as someone with less intelligence than they have.  They want you to listen to their meaning! Like the rest of us, they want to feel heard and respected.

So please remember to listen respectfully and keep any unwanted side comments to yourself. Don't make judgements based on how the person speaks but listen to what the person is saying.  And even if you think you are not being harmful by pointing it out, be aware that perhaps you are offending that person after all.

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your journey with us all. And well done Hailey for just being awesome :) So true what you have said above, people really don't listen anymore do they? Louise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Louise. I think listening skills have been neglected for awhile and I hope people will realize their importance again soon.

      Delete
  2. Thank you so much for blog! I was hoping I could find a way to inbox you but I'll continue reading your blog as I've already found some helpful ideas.
    You see my boyfriends sons are coming to live with us and I'm trying my best to wrap my brain around APD. His oldest was diagnosed and since I've never had kids and my upbringing was so strict I feel completely helpless. If you have any suggestions or if your daughter has anything to help me I'd be more than greatful.
    Thank you again! I'm putting your blog in my favorites!
    -Melissa
    melissa.hanenberger@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melissa, You can message me on my Facebook page; just look to the left of this post and in the column you can scroll up to "Find Us on Facebook". Click that to be connected. :)

      Also, I would definitely say that the biggest thing you can do for your boyfriend's sons is to make sure you make eye contact when speaking to them and speak clearly and in phrases - i.e. pausing slightly between thoughts; this should give them more time to process what it is you are saying. Also, don't rush them, but allow them to speak in the time it takes them to get out what it is they are trying to say. Lastly, remember that they may have difficulty following directions and so work with them to help rather than punish them; maybe create a written or pictoral list or at the least, make the directions simple and not too many at once. I hope it goes well for you.

      Delete
  3. So how do you help your child (who is 7) to speak more clearly without "offending" them? I want my son to have confidence but he is ALWAYS mispronouncing words and we have him in speech AND OT. I don't want him to feel bad but at the same time I want to help him HEAR the right way to say it or to articulate better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kimberly, Hailey used to be sensitive to this same exact thing. I had to learn how to not correct her every time or it was simply too much for her and she felt bad. I would try to sneak it in by using the mispronounced word in my reply for instance and emphasizing the correct way of saying the word by leaving a pause before and after saying it and/or accenting the sound that was mis-said by her. Good luck!

      Delete
  4. I have APD and am 25 now. It was at my worst when I was your sons age but I learned to adapt to it. I went to speech also at that age and hated it because I didnt understand why I needed it everything sounded right to me. My biggest hurdles were reading, writing, and paying attention in class. I was able to graduate college and now work in music though so. The more he hears words it will help to retrain his comprehension. Do you read to him or let him listen to audio books? Also music helped me alot. Since we here alot of jibberish but to the word pattern and rhythm being said by the person it honestly kind of sounded like music to me. But we also pick up background noise so I think by listening to melodic music I enjoyed from the backing musical track that I consequently helped me retrain my comprehension because I was hearing vocals at the same time. If have any questions feel free to e-mail me km15616@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for commenting Jack. Hailey is doing very well now; she is almost 15 at this point. She also likes listening to music in the background.

      Delete
  5. Thank you so much for sharing your story, I have just found out that I have APD I already knew I had dyslexia and just thought I spoke differently and when speaking all the words came out in the wrong order it left me feeling so isolated and embarrassed to talk to anyone I didn't know my mum would get really annoyed with me and as I am a good student my school didn't notice any problems. your story has changed my life so thank you so much

    Poppie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you found it helpful. APD can make socializing more difficult. I tell my daughter to be brave and not worry about little mispeakings; your voice is too valuable not to be heard.

      Delete
  6. Thank you for your post. My daughter was diagnosed with CAPD last October. I was so glad to finally understand why she struggles so hard. The sad part is CAPD is unheard of in Dublin, Georgia. Even one of the doctors said, Her hearing is fine the teacher just needs to speak louder. I watch her communicate with other kids and she is just there. She tries really hard to fit in but is mostly misunderstood. I just had a Parent teacher conference with my daughters 6th grade teachers because I was concerned about her grades and how or if her work was being modified (it wasn't). Her speech teacher this year is great and she really gave them a lot of info ON CAPD. I will be trying some of the techniques you posted and visit the websites you mentioned. Thank you again.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for sharing! Brought tears to my eyes. Just want to understand and help my son. I don't know where to start. I'm paying expensive specialist but getting nowhere. Especially at school. Composite class , open classroom shared with another composite class. My son refuses to change and this is very important to me as he is socially very happy.
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete