Most parents have some moments where if they wonder if their teen is going deaf or simply ignoring them. For teens who have Auditory Processing Disorder (or 'APD'), whilst they can hear voices, they may have problems processing the sounds into language or keeping track of conversation in a complex environment with different noises going on.
Here are some steps you can take if your teen has APD to help them cope better with school work and home life.
People with APD struggle to translate the sounds that they hear into language and then process the language to grasp meaning. As a result, it is a good idea for teens to focus on just one screen. Using closed captioning can often be useful in helping the child to follow programming on TV or computer screens, as it can often be easier for people with APD to process aural language when it is reinforced with text guides. When you are trying to talk to your teen, turn off screens or music so that they can focus on your voice.
Encourage your child to write down instructions
Teens with APD often struggle to remember multi-stage instructions as they are spending so much energy processing the sound into language and may not remember all of the steps. Encourage your teen to write down instructions at home and at school so that they can refer to them later at school. This can often help to ensure they don't forget steps and can increase their confidence in completing school work as well as help them contribute to home life.
Encourage one-on-one social activities
Teens with APD can also suffer socially as they find it hard to navigate multi-person conversations and may struggle to pick up nuance and jokes in conversations. This leaves them feeling isolated during what can be a tricky time. Encourage them to make some one-on-one time with close friends and allow them reasonable access to devices so that they can text and respond to group messaging. This can help them to sustain some social connections with peers.
If you suspect that your teenager may have APD, it's a good idea to get a proper diagnosis from a hearing specialist. They can help to see if this is the issues and ensure that your teen gets access to therapy to allow them to develop tools to deal with speech and aural communication.