Auditory processing is the ability to appropriately process and interpret auditory information. This includes the ability to follow directions, listen in a noisy environment, appropriately develop phonological awareness skills and many other skills. It is important to note that it can be difficult to differentiate processing difficulties from attentional problems such as ADD and ADHD.
The following is a list of characteristics typical of a child experiencing problems with auditory processing:
- The child covers their ears, grimaces, cries or becomes irritable in the presence of loud sounds or “particular” sounds.
- The child seems to hear sounds that others do not.
- The child seems unaware of sounds even though there is no hearing loss.
- The child becomes hyperactive, agitated, or aggressive in a noisy environment. There is a notable deterioration of behavior in a noisy versus quiet environment.
- The child becomes withdrawn in a noisy environment.
- The child watches others before following directions.
- The child does not respond when their name is called.
- The child stares at you after a direction has been given.
- The presence of certain sounds appears to disorient the child and/or contribute to a loss of balance.
- The child seems to be calm and “listen well” in one-on-one situations, but not in a group.
- The child has trouble localizing sound.
- The child has difficulty discriminating speech sounds.
- The one child in class who is most likely to say, “What?” or “I didn’t hear you.”
- The child seems to “tune out” auditory information when visually or motorically engaged.
- The child is physically exhausted at the end of the day.
- The child has atypical speech and language development.
- The child talks constantly but does not answer questions or engage in conversations. They constantly do a “monologue.”
- The child has difficulty making friends and has a tendency to play alone.