Auditory Processing Evaluation: Possible Reasons for Referral

If a child is referred for an auditory processing evaluation, it may because he exhibited one of the following behaviors in the classroom:

  • Trouble Reading: A child may be able to read all his sight words, but cannot actually sound them out—he has only memorized them visually. This is because he doesn’t understand the auditory sound component for reading. He sees it more as letters and pictures than individual parts that you can break apart. 
  • Difficulty Spelling: If you tell a child with an auditory processing issue the word “first,” he won’t be able to sound the word out (fff –iii—rr-ss—tt). If he does well on tests, it is probably because he can memorize how the word looks and then write it but has a difficult time actually spelling a new word out letter by letter because he doesn’t understand the different sounds. Spelling will show up worse in “free writes” than on spelling tests, where he had a chance to memorize the words. His spelling isn’t phonetically based. If he can’t recall a word visually, his spelling of the word “first” will look like “fstr.” He might have some of the sounds there but not in the correct order. 

He may also become easily distracted in poor acoustic environments. For example, if another student whispers behind him when he teacher is speaking, he may find it impossible to focus on the teacher’s lesson. Of course, this scenario is annoying for most students, but the presence of an auditory processing problem may make it even more difficult than normal for his brain to isolate the sounds-- the different noises his ears take in become jumbled up or confused and therefore, misunderstood.

Here are some other symptoms a child may experience at school if he has an auditory processing issue:

  • Misunderstands oral instructions or questions 
  • Delays in responding to oral instructions 
  • Says “huh/what” often 
  • Problems understanding 
  • Poor expressive/receptive language skills 
  • Behavioral problems 

Please note that oftentimes children experience the above without the presence of an auditory processing issue so in the end, an evaluation is key when determining if auditory processing is the issue or if something else is at play.

Have more questions or interested in talking to an A Chance To Grow professional? Our audiologist works within a network of A Chance To Grow specialists trained in the areas of speech therapy, occupational therapy, traditional and developmental vision interventions, neurotechnology, elementary and early childhood education, so even if a child is found not to have an auditory processing issue, we will work together to find an avenue that suits his needs so he can perform at his highest potential in the classroom and beyond.

*Male pronouns have been used in this blog for consistency purposes only.



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