Understanding Auditory Processing Deficits

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Auditory processing is the ability to identify, interpret, and attach meaning to sound. Berry and Eisenson state that children with auditory processing deficits can hear sounds but are unable to recognize them for meaning. Auditory processing plays as important a role as visual processing in reading.

Problems in auditory processing generally correspond to those in the visual area and are presented under the following components:

  1. Auditory discrimination. This refers to the ability to hear similarities and differences between sounds. The child who has a problem in this area is unable to identify gross differences as between a siren and a school bell or phonemic difference as between words /pen/ and /pin/ or /big/ and /pig/.
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  2. Auditory foreground-background differentiation. This refers to the ability to select and attend to relevant auditory stimuli and ignore the irrelevant. The child who has a difficulty in this area is unable to make such differentiation. As a consequence, everything heard is attended to equally. Thus, the teacher’s voice is lost in the background noises of other children’s whispers or the voices in the corridor or the traffic sounds coming from the street.
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  3. Auditory blending. Also referred to as auditory analysis and synthesis, this is the ability to synthesize individual sounds which form a word. The child who manifests a difficulty in this area is unable to blend the individual sounds in a word, such as /c-a-t/. The child may know the individual phonemes but simply cannot put them together. Similarly, the child may have problems breaking apart an unknown word by syllables and blending it, such as /te-le-phone/.
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  4. Auditory sequencing. This refers to the ability to remember the order of individual sounds in a given stimulus. The child who has problems in this area is unable to recite the alphabet or numbers or recall or carry out orally given directions in the order in which they are presented.
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Characteristically, according to Hayes, the child with auditory processing problems (1) may seem to ignore verbal directions; (2) may appear to daydream; (3) asks for repetitions of directions or says “what?”, “huh?”, often; (4) watches everyone else to see what they are doing before following directions; (5) may have poor speech patterns; (6) may be monosyllabic or may not volunteer information; (7) may tend to gesticulate a lot; and (8) usually prefers visual tasks.


More About Edublox

Edublox specializes in cognitive training that makes learners smarter, and helps them learn and read faster, easier, and better. Reading Tutor, one of our online programs, addresses:

* Concentration: Focused and sustained attention.

* Processing skills: Visual and auditory foreground-background differentiation; visual and auditory discrimination, synthesis and analysis; form discrimination; spatial relations.

* Memory: Visual, auditory, sequential, iconic, short-term, long-term and working memory.

* Logical thinking and reasoning.

* Reading, spelling and vocabulary.

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Does your child suffer from an auditory processing disorder? Edublox can help:

“In July 2012 (Grade 1) my husband and I were called into the school to see the principal and Jared’s teacher to discuss the difficulties Jared was experiencing in the classroom. The teacher said Jared needed to be taken for an educational assessment as she felt that he needed remedial intervention. She had picked up an auditory processing disorder, amongst other things, causing him to struggle to keep up with the rest of the class. My husband and I wanted to help Jared, but were afraid if we moved him away from his friends, it would break him.

“After doing some research I came across Edublox. I immediately sent Marj an email, to which she replied with reassurance. In the same week I took Jared for an assessment with Marj at her clinic in Kloof. The assessment showed that Jared had directionality confusion: all left arrows were read as right and vice versa. He sounded whilst reading, blended words incorrectly and his comprehension was very weak. His reading speed was below average, with Jared reading 23wpm, and at Grade 1 level should have been at approximately 80wpm. The assessment showed that his visual memory, auditory memory, logical thinking and eye span were all weak.

“Marj recommended sessions twice a week, however we could only manage once a week, as well as the home kit, which I would do with Jared. Jared started with Marj on the 4th of August 2012.

“Within 8 weeks Jared had already showed an improvement in the class room.

“At the end of Grade 1 (2012), Jared’s reading and phonics had shown a significant improvement, going from a 3/7 for phonics to a 5/7.

“In February 2013 (Grade 2) I received a note from the teacher complimenting Jared on his expressive reading. He was constantly being rewarded in the classroom for his reading and received the weekly achiever award.

“Jared was one out of a handful of children in Grade 2 to receive a gold certificate, due to the number of merits earned. He is confident when reading, and this has been the source of his confidence boost.

“At the end of Grade 2 (2013) Jared got a 7/7 for phonics as well as expression. He was also awarded at final prize giving for his excellent progress in reading.

“Thanks to Edublox, Jared’s confidence has improved significantly, and we are so proud of his achievement. We understand that there is no ‘quick fix’, and know that Jared needs to continue with lessons to constantly grow and improve, but we are so grateful to Marj, her commitment, and the incredible program that Edublox offers.”

Thank you
Joleen & Shane Watkins
December 2013

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Jared Watkins