Learning Difficulties

An Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is when the brain doesn’t correctly make sense of the sounds it hears. A child with APD can usually understand directions when said in a quiet room but will often have trouble hearing in noisier places.

Ideally, the brain should easily make sense of sounds we hear. As words are spoken, a child with normal auditory processing skills can effectively separate the speech from the noise, fill in any bits that they miss, and make sense what the sentences mean. A child with APD struggles with these tasks. This can make it more difficult to learn in a normal class setting.

The causes of APD are difficult to pinpoint. It is most likely due to various areas in the brain’s sound processing system not developing correctly. Children with ear infections throughout their early years can often be at a greater risk of having APD. About 3% of Australian children suffer from APD. Boys are twice likely to suffer from ADP than girls.

Signs and Symptoms

While the signs of APD can be noticed from early on, it isn’t until 7 years of age that accurately diagnosing APD becomes possible. If your child is showing some signs of APD, managing the condition gives your child a better chance to learn and experience childhood to the fullest.

Your child may be suffering from APD if you notice any of the following signs:

  • poor listening skills in noisy places.
  • difficulties following directions.
  • reading or spelling problems.
  • not understanding what they are meant to do.
  • being forgetful and disorganized.
  • not performing well in the classroom.
  • easily distracted or fatigued at school.


While there is no cure for APD, changes to learning styles can ease your child’s difficulties. Treatments can include:

  • learning strategies in the classroom.
  • compensatory strategies for daily life.
  • assistive listening devices to assist in the classroom.
  • listening exercises or computer software programs to improve the child’s auditory processing skills.

Your child may also need further assistance with other professionals, which may include: a speech-language pathologist, educational psychologist, occupational therapist or paediatrician.

If you think your child has APD or is showing some symptoms of APD, click here to make an appointment, or call Neurosensory today on 1300 965 513