Auditory Processing Disorder Subtypes

As anyone who has spent time in our office will know, Little Listeners is passionate about treating and educating people about Auditory Processing Disorder. What some might not know is that there are six different subtypes of APD. In this blog, we will attempt to define and outline these subtypes as well as explain what they might look like.

Decoding Deficit – A DD is the inability to process and discriminate incoming auditory information.  This deficit manifests itself as a discrimination issue with misunderstanding information, difficulty hearing in noise, and weaknesses with language skills such as reading, spelling, and vocabulary. Patients often have difficulty with sounding out words, discriminating between similar-sounding words, speech clarity, and word ending discrimination.

Tolerance Fading Memory – A TFM deficit is an inability to retain auditory information as well as a significant inability to process information with background noise present. This is characterized by poor handwriting, short-term memory weaknesses, difficulties with reading comprehension and expressive language disorder.  Often individuals will need instructions to be repeated, are easily distracted, and experience auditory overload.

Associative Deficit – An associative deficit is defined by information becoming stalled during processing, which results in patients being unable to understand how language fits together. Patients will have difficulties in reading and listening comprehension, as well as a poor understanding of word problems, and often difficulty with writing. This deficit can often be characterized as an auditory manifestation of a language processing disorder.

Output/Organization Deficit – An organization deficit occurs when a patient is unable to act on the incoming information which is trying to get to another part of the brain. Patients will display symptoms such as difficulty with sequences and follow-throughs, and impulsivity.  They often appear disorganized and inattentive.

Prosody – A prosodic deficiency results from a lack of understanding the unspecified cues of language. Patients may have a monotone voice and may develop social or emotional disorders as a result of the deficit. Patients will have difficulties with focus, background noise, directions, or the true intent of a verbal message (sarcasm, irony, etc). Social cues and facial expressions may mean little to them, and they may often display defensive behavior due to misunderstanding social cues.

Integration – An integration deficit occurs because of a difficulty in transferring information between the left and right sides of the brain. Patients will hear clearly, but the individual pieces of information will not logically piece together. They may feel as though they have details but cannot see the big picture because they have too much information to comprehend. Patients will have difficulties with multi-tasking, transitioning, listening in noise, reading comprehension, spelling, and written language.

Having any of the subtypes of APD can be a huge struggle for children, especially in learning environments where their success can impact their future. If you suspect your child has one of these subtypes, please talk to us about it. With proper diagnosis and a successful therapy program, it is possible for those struggling with APD to reach their highest level of success.

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