Help for Children with Listening and Learning Challenges
Welcome to the Auditory Processing Center at the Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC) in New York. Under the leadership of Lois Kam Heymann, M.A., CCC-SLP, the Auditory Processing Center provides comprehensive services and support to help children address the daily challenges of auditory processing disorders (or APD).
With over 30 years of experience working with children with hearing, listening, and learning challenges and their parents, Lois is supported by a team of audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and counselors dedicated to realizing your child’s full potential.
Click here to learn more about Lois Kam Heymann and the extraordinary success of her ListenLoveLearn process in the development of listening and language skills in children with APD.
News from the Auditory Processing Center
This new 4-minute video is essential viewing for parents who suspect their child might have an auditory processing disorder (APD) or a language processing disorder.
Learn the signs of APD as well as the services needed to help your child succeed socially and academically.
"Fast Track" Program
Fast Track to Better Listening is a comprehensive program of APD support for children (ages 5 and up) with listening and auditory challenges. In just three days - a time frame designed to accommodate families visiting NYC from out of town - your child can receive a thorough diagnostic evaluation and begin therapuetic intervention for a lifetime of effective listening and learning. Learn more
APD Phone Consultations
In addition to in-office services, we are pleased to offer APD phone consultations. All phone consultations are:
- Performed by Lois Kam Heymann
- One hour in length (additional time can be scheduled by request)
- For the purpose of reviewing test results and providing a recommended course of action. (We ask that all tests and reports be submitted to CHC one week prior to the phone consultation to allow for a thorough review.) Heymann's recommendations may include:
- Additional testing required
- Guidance in requesting additional evaluations or services through the Department of Education
- Referral for therapy
- Discussion of your child's strengths, weaknesses, learning style
Phone (917) 305-7850 to schedule a phone consultation or to learn more about any of our in-office services.
Path to Better Listening Webinar
CHC presents the Path to Better Listening Webinar, a 50-minute recording of Heymann's live webinar designed to help you understand the importance of listening skills and teach you techniques to develop those skills in your child. Learn more
Learning App Improves Listening Skills
Heymann has developed an app called "Category Carousel" for speech pathologists, educators, parents, and children. It's designed to develop and improve listening skills for learning and language development. Learn more
What is an Auditory Processing Disorder?
The term Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) describes what happens when sound is not interpreted properly. The child hears typically, but as sound moves from the ear to the brain there is distortion and/or delay of the signal, bringing challenges to everyday hearing and listening tasks. Your child hears fine, but struggles to process what he/she hears.
Signs of APD often appear at a young age, when your child’s attention span and basic language skills might not be on par with other children. Your child might have difficulty paying attention in noisy environments, remembering multi-task directions and discriminating subtle differences in sounds and words—challenges that can instill frustration, social isolation, and insecurity. But these daily struggles are both common and treatable. At the Center for Hearing and Communication’s new Auditory Processing Center, your child can receive all the guidance and support he/she needs to tackle APD symptoms, regain confidence and succeed in just about any listening environment.
Because of some overlap in symptoms, it is possible your child was previously misdiagnosed with ADD (attention deficit disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or PDD (pervasive developmental delay). Your child may have one of these disorders and delays in addition to APD. However, it is important to note that APD is not an attention or communication disorder. It is characterized by difficulty channeling sound to the brain, and it is entirely out of your child’s personal control. APD affects your child’s ability to attend to sound and can negatively impact his/her communication skills. At the Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC), we have the experience, resources and expertise to distinguish APD from other related disorders and offer the best treatment for your child’s needs.
How is APD Detected and Evaluated?
An auditory processing disorder can be detected by a variety of personal, educational and professional figures in your child’s life. As a parent, you may see a pattern with restlessness or forgetfulness (with household chores, for instance), while a teacher might notice your child struggling academically.
If your child shows any signs of APD, you can first contact CHC for a phone consultation with one of our Auditory Processing Center’s licensed clinicians. This initial consultation is an opportunity to gain insight into your child’s specific symptoms and comfortably voice your concerns. We then use our base of knowledge to recommend further steps for evaluation and treatment. Clinical recommendations may include one of more of the following:
I. Evaluation with a CHC Audiologist
Your child may be evaluated by a CHC audiologist for an official APD diagnosis. Audiology testing is most useful for children 7 years or older, the age at which a child’s brain starts to process more expansive information. In evaluating your child, the audiologist will:
- Confirm your child does not have a physical hearing loss (CHC audiologists verify hearing function by testing your child’s response to pure sound tones);
- Evaluate your child with other varied stimuli (e.g. responses to complex oral information, word sequencing, and slight discrepancies in speech);
- Use background noise to simulate a natural listening environment;
- Work with speech pathologists and other clinicians to construct a personalized treatment approach.
II. Evaluation and Therapy with a Speech-Language Pathologist
If you suspect that your child’s listening/language/learning is not progressing typically, a CHC speech-language pathologist can diagnose a listening/language delay or disorder. A speech-language pathologist will work one-on-one with your child to verify an APD diagnosis and provide intervention strategies to improve listening/language function. The speech-language pathologist will:
- Evaluate your child’s receptive/expressive language and listening skills relative to other children his/her age;
- Pinpoint specific speech and language deficits and differentiate APD from other possible diagnoses;
- Design an intervention approach that will help your child better process, understand and use language;
- Consult with professionals involved with your child;
- Make appropriate referrals if needed.
Sounds Fun! is an innovative, new program designed to help children (ages 4 to 7) with listening challenges develop pre-literacy skills. Working in a small group, your child can learn fun techniques and develop skills that will make him/her a better listener for life. Click here to learn more.
III. Psychoeducational Evaluation with a Psychologist
A CHC psychologist is available to assess your child for behaviors and attitudes commonly attached to APD. A psychologist may:
- Shed light on any social or cognitive challenges related to an auditory deficiency;
- Work alongside audiologists and speech-language pathologists to help your child receive the treatment he/she needs;
- Provide parent counseling through individual sessions and support groups.
What Are the Symptoms of APD?
If your child has APD, he/she will have more difficulty processing, remembering, and expressing auditory information. If you notice any of the following signs, please contact CHC’s Auditory Processing Center for evaluation and/or treatment. Our clinicians work personally with your child to overcome the listening and communication challenges impacting your child at school and at home.
If your child has an auditory processing disorder, he/she might:
- Have difficulty following more than one direction at a time;
- Commonly ask huh? or what? and often need information repeated;
- Seem easily distracted or bored when conversations or activities do not include visuals;
- Become upset, angry, or frightened by loud noises and noisy environments;
- Display poor memory for words and numbers;Have difficulty with complex language such as word problems, riddles and jokes, or a long story;
- Struggle to hear the difference in similar sounding words, like cat and cap or bath and bash;
- Have trouble paying attention for appropriate periods, such as during a class lecture;
- Have difficulty expressing complex speech;
- Struggle with basic language skills, including reading and reading comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary.
If your child has APD, you will notice that symptoms become more pronounced in noisy listening environments, where countless distractions and interruptions compete for his/her attention. It will be much more difficult to tune out excess sound in a busy supermarket or crowded restaurant, for example. You can limit these painful feelings of discomfort by placing your child in quiet and relaxed listening situations whenever possible. It is when your child feels at ease in an environment that information can best be processed and absorbed.
What Are the Causes of APD?
To date, the causes of APD are unclear. However, some interesting connections to the disorder have been revealed over time. Studies show your child might be at increased risk for APD if born with complications or prematurely, if isolated or neglected after birth, or after a chronic ear infection. Research also suggests that the disorder is more prevalent in boys than in girls.
How is APD treated?
An Auditory Processing Disorder is treated through a collection of techniques and adjustments that improve your child’s access to oral information. The following methods can be used in tandem to meet your child’s needs.
I. Environmental Modifications
Steps you can take at home or at school may include the following:
- Having your child close to the teacher for better listening access;
- Limiting loud TV and radio use in the house, especially during conversations;
- Providing your child a quiet place to study;
- Noticing difficult listening situations and creating an atmosphere most suitable to your child’s needs.
II. Therapy Sessions
A custom therapy program with a speech-language pathologist will offer your child:
- One-on-one sessions with a speech-language pathologist, utilizing a therapy approach specific to your child’s listening and communication needs;
- A series of fun listening/language-building exercises (e.g. pairing auditory sounds with visual aids and lessening their use over time, encouraging your child to rely on auditory senses);
- Improved speech, language and listening skills;
- Ease with daily listening and communication tasks.
III. Ongoing Reinforcement
Techniques and strategies you can use with your child include:
- Speaking to your child slowly and clearly;Using pauses and checking for understanding;
- Giving your child directions one step at a time;
- Asking your child to repeat directions aloud until the task is complete to help him/her through a difficult series of directions;
- Encouraging your child to take down longer notes in a journal or utilize other aids that convert oral speech to writing.
If you suspect your child has an auditory processing disorder or listening challenges, take action. CHC has the resources you need to evaluate and diagnose APD and pursue an appropriate course of treatment. Phone (917) 305-7850 to find out if your child could benefit from an APD consultation or evaluation. Under the leadership of Lois KamHeymann, our clinicians will work with you and your child to broaden his/her capacity for effective listening, language and communication.