So, I know there is often a debate of whether or not APD is really considered to be a hearing impairment, but lets put the ‘hearing or not’ factor aside. Experiencing either Deaf/Hard of Hearing or APD are life struggles: constant communication gaps, the inability to fully communicate, language barrier, isolation, and verbal misunderstandings that ultimately cannot be prevented. I use coping strategies in most situations such as lip reading, ‘filling in the blanks’ during conversations, and reading certain visual tactics/aids/queues to understand language. However, I would like to tell you why I feel the need to pose this issue. APD is an umbrella term which highlight these 8 factors:
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders state that children with Auditory Processing Disorder often:
- 1. have trouble paying attention to and remembering information presented orally, and may cope better with visually acquired information
- 2. have problems carrying out multi-step directions given orally; need to hear only one direction at a time
- 3. have poor listening skills
- 4. need more time to process information
- 5. have low academic performance
- 6. have behavior problems
- 7. have language difficulties (e.g., they confuse syllable sequences and have problems developing vocabulary and understanding language)
- 8. have difficulty with reading, comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary
These factors do not apply to everyone with APD and also understand that this is just a standard list of symptoms, however every case of APD is different, these factors are most common. No two cases are alike just as no two people are alike. The reason I constantly reiterate this information is to help others edify and become aware of the challenges (and blessings) one faces when having APD. This ‘learning disability’ should NOT be considered a hinderance, nor should it be recognized only for its difficulties and differences, but for its strengths.
But the bottom line, is that I think differently, I process differently, I perceive hearing differently, and I also hear with my eyes. What might that be, you ask? It is to read lips when I cannot rely on my own hearing or when I am too slow to process auditory information. I like to hear with my eyes. Because at the end of the day, I am different…and so are you!
It’s okay, embrace it. 🙂