WHAT IS APD?
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is an incurable, lifelong condition that affects the way that the brain processes sound including speech. It is thought to be caused by damage to the brain and is therefore a medical condition not a learning difficulty: it causes them in a lot of children. It many cases, meets the criteria of a disability, depending on its severity and the unique presenting profile of the sufferer. Children with APD will become adults with APD, and depending on severity it can have enormous negative impact on all aspects of life, particularly education, communication, socialisation and relationships, and seeking and maintaining employment. Even those mildly affected will struggle.
APD is a condition which can occur in people with perfect hearing or hearing loss. APD
affects everyone uniquely and with varying severity, and it rarely
exists in isolation: there are usually any number of other
unrelated co-morbid conditions with reciprocal impact, which will
also need diagnosis and full, tailored support. APD even has some characteristics in
common with other conditions, which makes it harder to
spot and rightly called an invisible disability; misdiagnosis is common, or it is missed by being masked by
these other difficulties. Recent US research has indicated that APD is thought to be present in 2-7% of children and over 20% of adults,
and its prevalence increases steeply in children with learning
difficulties with up to 40% of the children having Auditory Processing
deficits. APD is thought to be one of the main causes of dyslexia by what
is known as auditory dyslexia affecting acquisition of phonics
discrimination. In some cases, this can also affect speech, and it is caused by APD via
the inability to accurately process, remember and differentiate speech
So, APD affects everyone uniquely and with varying severity. It can affect people randomly and intermittently, with fluctuating effects even during one day or one hour. APD is often inherited and there are many other acquired causes, such as frequent ear infections leading to glue ear, or head injury, brain damage from epilepsy, drug or alcohol abuse, damage in utero, effects from other conditions such as ME and Down's Syndrome etc. plus many other possible causes still unverified. It can be acquired at any age and there are many adults with late onset APD due to illness or injury.
Accurate early diagnosis of APD is essential. Only a specialist audiologist is qualified and experienced enough to carry out such testing, and there are only a few specialist testing centres in the UK for children with APD. These have been reliably recommended to me and are listed in the "APD testing UK 2018" pdf document (below) and on my Facebook pages. Test batteries may differ among them, but they have the appropriate tests to cover all possible difficulties; others do not. Also, just a couple of those listed are qualified to diagnose adults. Parents are free to go wherever they choose, but I have been advised that full, reliable testing is not currently found elsewhere, especially among private providers. (Other testing centres may not provide reliable full testing, merely assessments or screening tools which should not be relied upon as the basis for a valid or complete diagnosis, so patients who choose to go elsewhere do so at their own risk)
APD testing is usually currently undertaken from age 7, but ages can differ although below 6 is not recommended. A handful of centres of excellence for the whole UK is not enough. We need
accessible, standardised testing UK wide; and early, expert diagnosis is just the
start. APD cannot be cured, so you need to
learn to live with it and get around it using coping strategies,
utilising your own unique gifts and skills, learning style and
strengths. Self-advocacy skills are also vital for someone with APD: the knowledge of how their unique pattern of APD affects them as
an individual and how to ask for the unique accommodations that they
need and are legally entitled to receive (and what to ask for). These
accommodations are essential for a child with APD to be able to
access an appropriate education. Any support and development of
coping strategies have a better chance of success the earlier they
are implemented, before the auditory processing system of the brain
is fully developed at around the age of 12-13.
APD is a disability for life: a child with APD will become an adult with APD. The sufferer will need to learn to live with APD, to get around it, but they will still need lifelong support depending on its severity. To meet each individual's particular needs, uniquely tailored accommodations are a lifeline, at school and at work. Because APD also rarely exists alone, further testing is needed to identify every other condition that affects each child and impacts on the APD. With a network of adequate and appropriate support and by using their strengths and compensatory gifts, a child with APD can access education and have a chance at a full, successful life. Also essential is acceptance and support by family and friends, knowing that they are not alone and it isn't their fault that they struggle. APD does not affect intellect, they are not stupid, lazy or broken, and they need to be told that. Self-esteem, confidence issues, anxiety and even depression are common when a child with APD is not fully supported and accommodations put in place. Illness, exhaustion and stress all make symptoms of APD much harder to cope with and coping strategies will fail while the body deals with these other factors. They need frequent sensory breaks at school and at home; time to relax in a quiet place, to reboot the over- saturated brain in peace, and delay-process what has been learned.
APD has been diagnosed in the UK since 2004; it is acknowledged as a recognised medical condition by the World Health Organisation and has a classification of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) (which lists conditions too) - under the section ICD 9, as ICD-9 388.45 and ICD-9 388.40 and the Medical Subject Headings as MeSH D001308.
Sufferers of all ages need lifelong support at home, and accommodations in school/college/university, in seeking benefits, finding work and in the workplace. Some APD sufferers (both adults and children) are eligible to apply for ESA, PIP/DLA and Carer's Allowance where the effect on their lives is present most of the time and is substantial, and for some people it can pose risks to safety in certain situations; the CAB can advise on applications. Yet APD is still not fully recognised and supported in the UK. In short, APD can be devastating to a child’s education, communication, socialisation and future career prospects. It continues to affect adults throughout their life and affects all aspects of a person’s life. It needs to be recognised as the often-devastating disability that it truly is, and adequate help and support must be provided, as is the legal right of every child and adult in the UK. Not to do so is disability discrimination, and where there is failure to support at school, cases of educational negligence have been fought, and won. Please do your part in supporting those with APD: as a parent, education or medical professional. Each child and adult with APD needs your help.
BE CLEAR WHEN EXPLAINING APD
Sometimes people use incorrect explanations in order to deflect questions or give a quick answer - doing this actually harms the efforts of everyone struggling to gain awareness of APD.
- Don't describe APD as a hearing impairment. Hearing is not affected by APD in the traditional sense (although it can exist in people with hearing loss too). It is the brain which is affected. Also, unlike hearing loss, APD is intermittent and variable in its effects.
- Don't say that a person with APD has a problem with listening: that makes it appear like they have an attention problem. People with APD normally listen perfectly well; their brain just doesn't process what they hear/listen to. People with APD must pay full attention to have a chance of being able to process anything. It is exhausting and often their brain still lets them down (although it can also exist in people with added attention difficulties).
- APD is NOT "auditory dyslexia" or 'dyslexia for the ears.' Auditory dyslexia is a term used for a type of reading/spelling problems which can be caused by APD; but the term doesn't describe APD itself, and reading/spelling problems don't affect everyone with APD (and their ears work perfectly well!)
RECOMMENDED SIMPLE EXPLANATIONS:
- APD is a condition where the brain has problems with processing sound including speech.
- APD makes it difficult to understand speech and remember what people say.
ABOUT THIS WEBSITE
The aim of this website is simply to provide FREE information about Auditory Processing Disorder/APD. This website is for anyone who has Auditory Processing Disorder/APD or suspects it, and wants information on this subject - for adults, teenagers, children, families, friends, professionals, and anyone else who's interested in learning more about APD. Although based in the UK, this website provides information to everyone, everywhere - APD is a global condition.
Please visit my information page,
there is specific information about APD testing in the UK, coping
strategies, research etc. all free for you to print off and share.
There is also a list of my UK and international Facebook support groups (for parents, adults and teenagers/young adults with APD) which you are welcome to join.
Visit my links page, where you will find links to further APD and other invisible
APD Support UK
This website and associated Facebook support groups are affiliated to the new unincorporated association "APD Support UK."
APD SUPPORT UK MISSION STATEMENT
As a co-operative association of
like-minded individuals, our aim is to to provide support and advice on
the unique nature of APD, and promote:
• awareness and recognition of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) as a disability throughout the United Kingdom (UK) and beyond;
• standardised UK-wide specialist, multi-discipline APD testing for individuals of all ages;
• standardised UK-wide training for education, medical and other professionals and organisations in the recognition, diagnosis and support of individuals with APD of all ages;
• wider research into APD, and;
• provision of lifelong, tailored support in education, work and all aspects of life for individuals with APD of all ages, to accommodate their unique APD profile and any/all other co-morbid conditions and their level of disability.
Watch this space for updates...
About the book
In this friendly guide, a girl called Amy tells all about her Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). Together with her friend Tom and sister Lucy, Amy explains how every child with APD is affected in unique ways, and how to get help if you have APD.
This illustrated guide is ideal for helping children aged 7+ with APD to understand the condition, while increasing their self-esteem and confidence. Explaining about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and co-morbidity in child-friendly terms, it dispels myths and encourages children to self-advocate and seek help at home and at school. It is also an excellent starting point for parents, teachers and other professionals wishing to tailor support to the type and severity of a child's APD, and includes a helpful list of recommended sources for additional support.
- Paperback: 48 pages
- Age Range: 7 years and up
- Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers (21 May 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 178592494X
- ISBN-13: 978-1785924941
About the Author
Alyson Mountjoy is the founder of APD Support UK. She has over 18 years' experience supporting families, researching and writing about APD. Alyson's son has auditory processing difficulties.
About the IlIustrator
Kelly Davies is a freelance artist specialising in portraits and fan art. Commissions undertaken on request.
APD-RELATED SUPPORT AND ADVICE FOR ALL AGES
The APD Support UK Facebook group is primarily for parents in the UK seeking APD diagnosis and support for their children, both at home and at school. Adults with APD and supportive professionals are also welcome, but the focus is on issues relating to families supporting children with APD and co-morbid disabilities.
The Adults with APD group is an international Facebook group providing support specifically for adults with APD and suspected APD, on diagnosis and all aspects of living and working with APD. Parents and supportive professionals are also welcome, but the focus is on issues relating to adults with APD and co-morbid disabilities.
UK Teens/Young Adults with APD is a closely monitored group, a safe place for teenagers aged 13 plus and young adults. Mainly for UK residents, international members and parents seeking support for their teenage children are also welcome,but the focus is on issues relating to supporting teenagers/young adults with APD and co-morbid disabilities.
ADULTS WITH APD RESEARCH
Please contact me if you need further information for yourself, your child, or a person with APD (or suspected APD) in your care as an educational or medical professional.
UK APD TESTINGPlease note, Great Ormond Street Hospital/GOSH is currently not accepting new referrals. Referrals sent there WILL be rejected, so please seek referral to one of the other centres on the document about testing opposite -"APD UK Testing 2018". (Other testing centres may not provide reliable full testing, merely assessments or screening tools which should not be relied upon as the basis for a valid or complete diagnosis, so patients who choose to go elsewhere do so at their own risk)
INFORMATION ABOUT APD © Alyson Mountjoy
You are welcome to use this presentation and accompanying notes, along with the 2017 GOSH criteria. You can of course use the notes and presentation as a basis for your own notes and/or presentation, so long as they aren't copied word for word. You can also add your own comments on a separate sheet or in your verbal comments to explain how your child is uniquely affected - which is advised. All I ask is that anyone printing and sharing the presentation and notes to please retain my name and copyright, and print and use the documents unchanged.
The notes can be used to explain to your child's school about what it means for your child to have APD, and why tailored support is vital. They can be used with the presentation, but don't use the presentation alone as it contains headings and very little detail.The notes should be given as presentation handouts along with the GOSH criteria (below).
I have prepared 12 colourful A4 posters taken from slides in the presentation, each with one line reminders on the impact of APD on education. These can be printed and distributed separately from the presentation notes or as an accompaniment to the information sheet, or as additional presentation handouts.
NEW - What is APD
A short document about APD: a quick read for those who only have time for the basic points. It contains the information about APD on the front page of this website which you can take to inform your child's school about APD, or to use when seeking referral; it also has a link to this website and one to the GOSH APD information page. More new information sheets and articles on APD are available on the Information page.
All text on this website ©
Mountjoy 2017 - All rights reserved
- Any information provided via my website, Facebook groups and handouts is my personal opinion based on many years of experience and my own research, gained while supporting parents of children with APD and adults with APD. It is not medical opinion, and should not be taken as such.
- Readers are free to make up their own minds and use the recommendations as they see fit.
- Parents and adults with APD are free to choose where they seek diagnosis, but be aware that only specific testing by a specialist audiologist (NHS or private) can say for certain whether APD is present. Anything else is mere speculation and assessments elsewhere may be incomplete or incorrect and may not constitute a valid diagnosis without the appropriate testing.
- Permission is granted to use/print/copy and distribute all information/articles provided, but only if done so unchanged, and copyright/authorship must be referenced to protect the intellectual property of any and all authors/contributors. The support materials on this website are not provided with permission for resale or for profit.