Auditory processing disorder

My Child Was Just Diagnosed With Auditory Processing Disorder. Now What?

By Lexi Walters Wright

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Did you recently find out that your child has auditory processing disorder? You’re not alone—auditory processing disorder is more common than you may think. And researchers are learning more about it every day. Here are some steps you can take to help your child get the support she needs to thrive in school and in life.


Learn all you can about auditory processing disorder.

Get answers to common questions about auditory processing disorder—including why APD isn’t the same thing as being hard of hearing. Learn about different skills auditory processing disorder can impact. Find out how it can affect your child’s social life. And explore how the signs of auditory processing disorder can change as she gets older.


Investigate treatments and therapies for auditory processing disorder.

There are a number of treatment options for auditory processing disorder. Speech and language therapy can help kids improve how they perceive sounds and develop active listening skills. Educational therapy can help them develop strategies to work around obstacles.

You may also hear about auditory training therapy (sometimes called auditory integration therapy). While some parents choose to try this type of therapy, keep in mind that there isn’t a lot of research showing that it works.


Discuss supports and services for auditory processing disorder with the school.

Schedule a meeting with the school and provide any reports you may have from specialists. Even if the school has done its own evaluation, having an outside evaluation could help with IEP or 504 plan process. Talk about specific classroom accommodations that can help kids with auditory processing disorder. Assistive technology can also be helpful. For instance, special hearing devices that filter sounds can help some kids “tune out” distractions.


Teach your child to self-advocate.

It’s important to help your child develop the skills she needs to speak up for what she needs, both in and out of school. Help your child recognize her own strengths and challenges. Then discuss what self-advocacy can look like in grade school, middle school and high school.


Understand the possible emotional impact.

Learning and attention issues like auditory processing disorder can also have an impact on your child’s emotions. In some cases, there’s even a higher risk for mental health issues when a child has a learning and attention issue. Know the signs of anxiety and depression. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s doctor if you have any concerns.


Find ways to help your child with auditory processing disorder at home.

From keeping requests simple (“Put on your cleats now, please”) to creating a quiet homework station, there are lots of ways to help. Explore Tech Finder for apps to help kids who struggle with listening comprehension. You can also find hundreds of practical ideas for working through social and behavioral challenges in Parenting Coach.


Find auditory processing disorder support.

Visit your local Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) to learn about auditory processing disorder services near you. And consider joining our online community, where you can hear from parents who’ve been there. They can share tips and experiences that could make your journey easier.


Stay in touch with the school.

It’s important to keep in contact with your child’s teachers. This can help you stay on the same page about whether her supports and services are working. You may also want to explore questions to ask about the school’s reading instruction. Instruction that clearly teaches the systems of sounds, letters and grammar can be very helpful for kids with auditory processing disorder.

About the Author

Portrait of Lexi Walters Wright

Lexi Walters Wright

A veteran writer and editor for parenting magazines and websites, Lexi Walters Wright has a master’s degree in library and information science and is proud to serve families at

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Reviewed by Bob Cunningham, M.A., Ed.M. Aug 01, 2016 Aug 01, 2016

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