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Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Community
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470168 tn?1237474845

Auditory Processing Disorder

Does anyone else have a child with an autistic spectrum disorder and auditory processing problems?  My son has just been referred to an audiologist as he has problems with auditory memory, pronounces words wrong, may have dyslexia etc.  Any info about this condition would be useful, especially as a comorbid condition with autism.
8 Responses
365714 tn?1292202708
I believe I do, but I've not had that evaluated.

I just remember the word "participation" and "percipitation" sounding very similar and I couldn't figure out why the same word seemed to have two vbery different uses...

I couldn't pronounce either very easily until after quite a bit of practice...

Also I've noticed following complex direction strings get troublesome...  For instance if you try to describe where to find an object I'm not quite familiar with in an area I may not have examined... I may find myself confused when I try to find the object because I only remember fragments of the sentence...

Imagine talking through a Cell  phone with a bad signal or a peaker phone to speaker phone conversation. That should give a pretty good perspective what it is like living with a central auditory processing disorder.

So far I've noticed common disrutions with myself:

Background noise
I can't hear people too well when there's lots of background noise. What you say cuts in and out.

This includes activities such as washing dishes. The water running and clanking dishes muffles all else.

Eating:
if I am eating (the chomping and crunching sounds muffle everything else), I've figured out that's part of why I get so grumpy when people try to talk to me when I am eating, especially in the morning. That may be part of why I prefer eating alone.

My own thoughts: I can't think and observe very well. Sometimes I can, but it comes very poorly and tends to create memory lapses...

For instance I got distracted looking at some cheap buckets sold for $1.50 each. I thought that's a great deal for a huge bucket. Plus I was concerned about getting to a meeting on time. (I came early surprisingly). Meanwhile I crossed the street, thinking I saw the green light, but a guy went by saying, "Really smart" and it dawned on me I may have crossed a really busy street without the walk signal being on...

But because my thoughts interrupted me, I cannot remember much of the event at all. I can't even say if I crossed at a red light thinking it was about to turn, which in that case I did something very stupid that I've almost never done since maybe a very young child...

Or if the guy was turning and he was in the wrong... But because all I can remember are fragments and me thinking saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I don't know what happened..." and thinking how stupid I was and how rare that happens and just feeling shocked... That overtook my senses and prevented me from remembering crutual information going on outside...

I still feel a bit shaken up even though that occured about two weeks ago...

Anyways back on topic, if anything someone says triggers a thought, that thought overrides anything outside...  Part of maturing is to be able to switch between thinking and observing at a quicker rate, but info does get lost and if the transition doesn't occur quickly, quite a chunk can get lost.

I hope some of this helps.
365714 tn?1292202708
(I didn't spell check my post and it shows...)  In order to remember stuff, I have to be able to give my full attention...  I can do some tasks and listen, but they can't be complex tasks and they can't be noisy tasks.

Also when people start talking, I may not always pick up on their voice.  Their voice blends in with the background, especially if they speak softly or ramble.  I can't listen well to rambling. At some point my mind just shuts it off and writes the speaking as part of the environment...  I have to consciously focus my attention when that happens and it can make things difficult at times.


Part of coping, I've learned to ask people to repeat parts of their sentence, especially if I just tuned in and didn't hear them at first. This is important if they were trying to talk to me and get my attention.  I may not pick up on their greeting the first couple times.

In group discussions, I have trouble with interrupting. Part of it is my mind may not have even picked up that someone began speaking until it's brought to my attention.

It can get annoying...  I really don't know how much of this is normal and how much is a disability.

470168 tn?1237474845
Hi MJ, I thought you might have these type of problems from other stuff you've posted.  But didn't like to presume!  
I too think I have some auditory processing problems, but on a much lesser scale.  I sometimes cannot understand a word someone is saying if their tone of voice of accent is a particular one.  I also have problem with background noise.  It is as if my ears keep shifting what they want to listen to.
I just think, with all these things going on for someone with autism, communication problems, sensory problems, auditory processing problems, etc etc.  How does a school differentiate the work and manage to teach them.  As you know, my son is now 3 years in the school and not much to show for it.
365714 tn?1292202708
I don't think I have it the worst either. I wouldn't make Nightline or a news PR with my processing troubles. I'd have to have the worst case and it would have to be crippling which it isn't.

I do agree on accents... Also I seem to have trouble picking up people with African descent. I guess because most talk with a slight slur or some accent.  They usually have to repeat themselves a couple to few times before I can fully understand.  It's not with everyone, but mostly the people who seem to have stronger accents and softer/lower voices.

I have managed to get by so far in spite of my challenges. I find I have to give a lot of my attention, sometimes stop what I am doing completely to listen. I stop eating for one thing. I don't talk and eat either, but then again people really shouldn't...
it sounds gross and can be a choking hazzard.

In school it was one of my IEP things to reduce noise if I remember.  There really isn't much that can be done but it did help to test in another room. That served another important purpose which was to remove me of any intentional or unintentional time limits.  Being isolated from the classroom also helped me to focus better.

It also helped when teachers closed the door. That usually was done without any prompting. It seems in most cases the level of noise that interrupts my concentration bothers most people.  That kind of helps, except of the bothered person just puts up with it... I can do so too, but it may make me a little grumpy later in the day for no particular reason.

I hate construction... the noise from construction, especially if it is right next door or IN the same building... That can render productivity to null, or at least leave me feeling very frazzled by the time I get out.  Usually as an adult the later happens.  I am probably a lot better at coping than I make it out to be in my posts.
325405 tn?1262293778
One of my sisters had a language processing disorder when she was younger, though I guess technically she still has it.  She says she still gets mixed up sometimes when hearing language.  She does not have autism, however, so I don't know what it would be like to have them present together.  My mom had said that she was told that with my sister, it was a developmental delay in her brain, and that it would get better with time and therapy.  My sister didn't say anything until she was 3, and then pronounced everything wrong and had problems remembering which word to say.  My sister did not and does not have any sort of sensory processing disorder, she just had the language processing disorder, which had something to do with how her brain registers and processes language.  I think sometimes auditory processing disorder and sensory processing disorder can go together, especially when someone has autism.  

I have sensory processing problems, and have problems filtering out conversations if other noises are going on at the same time.  Loud noises really bother me.  Parties bug me a lot, and I just can't go to parties because there are just too many conversations going on at the same time, I can't understand a single word of it.  But that's entirely different from what my sister had.  Though I imagine they probably are related.  Not sure on that one.  All this processing stuff that our brains does is still a bit confusing to me.

My sister was a late talker and when she did talk, she pronounced everything wrong.  Sometimes it would take her forever for her brain to remember the word she wanted to say.  When you'd tell it to her, she'd know yes, that was the word she wanted.  I see this with my 2 1/2 year old now.  So I think about my sister a lot, and when she was little.  Sometimes she'd replace consonants with other ones and everything was just pronounced so wrong.  I was 8 years older than she was, and my older brother and I knew what she wanted.  She also sort of had her own language for things, and we'd just interpret for my parents.  She finally went through speech and language therapy at age 4.  25 years ago they didn't really have early intervention.  When she hit grade school, she was way behind on language and she was in the regular classroom, but went an hour each day out of the classroom for speech therapy.  She also did an after school program for another hour on top of the hour during the regular school day.  She also had to get help with reading and phonix and help finding out what the teacher was saying.  

My sister remembers a lot of during that time period.  I have asked her a lot of what she experienced because my daughter now probably has the same thing.  Anyways, my sister went through language/speech therapy through 4th grade.  She didn't learn how to read until 2nd grade.  She stopped therapy after 4th grade, but continued to need special considerations throughout the rest of school.  Additional time to take tests.  Help from friends to go over her notes because sometimes she'd mishear what was said.  The other thing my mom got to do was purchase the textbooks from the school the summer before the school year started.  My mom tutored my sister throughout the summer on what she would be learning next year.  My sister also had a lot of problems with standardized test taking.  She did wonderfully on essays and stuff where it wasn't multiple choice.  She got a lot better at spelling because of all the work the teachers, my parents, and the language therapists spent with her. She says that she still mishears some words and sometimes the words she wants to come to her mind don't always come as fast as she wants them to and sometimes she hears things incorrectly.  But, she graduated high school with high grades and went to college and graduated with highest honors, in the top of her class.  I just remember when she was 3 and 4, and she couldn't even pronounce my name or much of anything.  And her grammar was pretty bad off.  And I see my daughter having so many of the same problems now that my daughter is now starting to say some words finally.  My daughter might be on the autism spectrum, which my sister was definitely not.  I know having autism adds other difficulties in there.  My daughter has other sensory issues, like I do.  Sensory issues pared with auditory processing... well, I guess that complicates things.  

Anyways, I probably am more confusing than helpful with this message, but wanted to share what my sister went through.


470168 tn?1237474845
No you haven't confused me anymore than I already am!  That was my point in posting that these conditions look similar, but are coming from different problems and that it must be difficult to tease out the cause.
My son definately has sensory processing problems.  He also has problems with visual/verbal/auditory memory retrieval (which is a processing thing).  He frequently cannot remember the name of things, even his favourite drink.  He pronounces words wrong when I think he should know the difference between them eg. he called a 'map' a 'nap' and then got very upset when I asked him if he was tired.  He also tells me things like words float around in my brain and I can't get them.  He frequently wants to say something but cannot find the words and gives up.
I also have the problem with being able to hear when there is other noise going on.  I think that may also be auditory processing.
The Speech and Language Therapist wants to carry out some more tests and she has now referred him to an audiologist.  So I should get some answers.  But you do have to push to get more tests done.  If I wasn't continually asking 'why' he can't remember words etc then I think they wouldn't have referred him for testing.
365714 tn?1292202708
I think I had the word retrieval problem more often as a child, but as an adult it occurs once and a while where I may say one word and mean another.  My parents tend to do that. Both of them occasionally called me by my sister's name and vis versa.

There were a few occasions my dad accidently called me by my mom's name. That must be embarrassing!

It'd frustrate my mom if she spoke the wrong word. Same with me. I guess it seems to cause frustration in those it happens to.

I guess with my grandma and her poor hearing, even with hearing aids and me, sometimes we both frustrate each other.

For instance when putting in grocries I thought I heard, "Don't bring in the sugar. It is heavy."

Which was not what she said. I was confused why she was upset with me. I thought I did as advised. I took just about everything except the sugar.

She claims she said, "You bring in the sugar. It is heavy."  Some people by default may assume such a case was wishful thinking or being defiant if it were their kid or spouse. Really it wasn't intentional.

I'm thinking because I was grabbing bags at the time, chances are the crinkling garbled the first part of grandma's sentence. By the end of the first word or the second word, I tuned in and could tell she was talking to me.  My brain must had compiled the first word for me figuring by default grandma was telling me what she wanted to carry in and perhaps expressing concern for my tendency to load several plastic bags on my arms. (I found it saves trips and I am strong enough.)

Part of it may be what I am expecting or thinking about at the moment. If I'm thinking someone is telling me what they want to carry in, that may affect what I make out of data that came in garbled.

I explained the situation to grandma and appologized.  The stuff I carried in was heavy also.
325405 tn?1262293778
That's funny about your parents calling you by your sister's name.  My dad had problems with remembering our names, but he'd call us number 1, 2, 3 or 4, based on order we were born.  Unfortunately I was number 2 which my older brother always used to laugh at me about. Number 1 wasn't much better.  Not sure if anyone else used numbers for potty stuff growing up, but my dad also used numbers for that as well.  Oh, and then there was the always the "hey you" if he couldn't remember the number.  
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