Summer in my family growing up meant road trips across the country to visit my grandparents. One of my favorite things was getting to go in the motel pool when we stopped for the night. In fact, my brother and sister and I had so much fun that we had this clever little trick. When my parents would come to the side of the pool to tell us it was time to get out, we would conveniently slide under the water so that we couldn’t really hear what they were saying. They weren’t fooled!
But imagine for a second what it would be like if every time someone spoke to you, it felt like you were listening through water. Imagine how hard you would have to listen and how much intense attention it would take. Think how often you would have to say, “Huh? What did you say?” Think how difficult it would be to understand what your teacher or your friends are saying and how lost or anxious you might feel.
That’s what it may be like for people with auditory processing problems – like listening through water.
Auditory processing is not your hearing. It’s how the brain perceives or thinks about the information that comes in through your ears. Poor or inconsistent processing of auditory information can affect your:
- Social communication
- Attention, and
- Overall sense of well-being.
We find that students with auditory processing problems are often accused of not listening, not caring, or not paying attention. These students may experience a high degree of anxiety because they simply can’t “connect the dots” quickly or accurately enough in spite of intense effort.
When auditory processing problems are recognized for what they are, accommodations, like FM systems, sitting in front of the class, or even having an instructional aide are sometimes provided for students at school, but very rarely are parents told that auditory processing can be developed.
The good news is that it can be. Through a variety of sound therapy programs and active auditory training, the brain can learn to process auditory information more accurately and completely. When the brain can tune-in to the important information and block the background noise; when it can discriminate the differences in the sounds in words; when it can process a full range of sound frequencies; communication, comprehension, and reading skills can also be developed.
As you look forward to pool time this summer, think about what it would be like to listen through water. If you think that an auditory processing problem is affecting you or your child, there is hope.
Learn more about auditory processing and permanently correcting learning problems:
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“Helping smart but struggling students dramatically improve or completely correct their learning and attention challenges by developing the underlying learning skills that are not supporting the learner well enough.”
We serve children and adults with diagnosed or undiagnosed learning and attention challenges including learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD, auditory processing disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.
Jill Stowell, M.S.
#1 Best-Selling Author: At Wit’s End A Parent’s Guide to Ending the Struggle, Tears, and Turmoil of Learning Disabilities
Founder and Executive Director – Stowell Learning Centers