Hilda Coyne, Editor
IN THIS ISSUE
the academic year ends, some will have more time to review
the information in this issue. Many educators and allied professionals
will find the following articles of interest, since 20% of
the population has a learning difference. In a highly informative
article, the audiologist Dr. Stephen Seipp lists some of the
subtypes of individuals challenged by these deficits. This
is important to educators, for instance, knowing that a student
struggles with fast sounds allows the educator to implement
appropriate strategies such as slowing speech for better reception
of verbal instruction.
those who wish to strengthen their communication with students
will find the article by Rehan Ahmad valuable. Next, educators
who tutor in a one-to-one setting or in a learning center
will gain useful information from the article by Lisa B. Lee
Sang. Many of you will empathize with the triumph of overcoming
a learning deficit, and you also will enjoy meeting Marcel
Pinto Picasso in the article about his extraordinary skills.
In addition, you may welcome information on conferences, a
book review, and resources. Please continue to share this
newsletter with colleagues, and your interesting information
and articles with the editor. Have a great summer!
POTENTIAL EFFECT ON LEARNING
W. Stephen Seipp, Au.D.
When trying to determine the various aspects of a learning disability
underlying the academic, emotional and social components, there
could be a subtle neurologic difference in the way individuals with
learning deficits process auditory information. The terms Central
Auditory Processing Dysfunction (CAPD), now called Auditory Processing
Dysfunction (APD), represent a variety of problems in the auditory
system, which can contribute to a learning deficit.
Hearing is not all at the ear, which actually acts like a microphone
- it picks up sound waves and changes them into electrical (nerve)
impulses. However, just like a microphone, if it is not connected
sufficiently well to the other components which process the sound,
the auditory system will fail to function as it should. Similarly,
even if a microphone is functional, if the amplifier or loudspeakers
are not working properly the sound may be jumbled. Our hearing is
like that - the entire system has to work properly - the ears and
the other (neurologic) components of the auditory pathway.
Individuals may have a hearing impairment, APD, or both. Some of
the typical problems with APD are:
- Background noise may cause sounds to be distorted, creating
difficulty hearing accurately in some group settings.
- Background noise perceived as too loud may result in sensitivity
to loud sounds.
- Slowed auditory processing speed may cause problems with phonemics,
phonics, reading and understanding rapid speech.
- Weak auditory processing may create the need for frequent
repetition of verbal information.
It is not always that persons do not hear but rather that they
misperceive what they hear. The persons may think they heard one
thing but what was said was different. Obviously, this causes problems
in the classroom. The student may appear not to understand the concept
but in fact may not have been able to process the information accurately.
In addition, this problem may create difficulties in taking notes
APD has an effect on behaviors as well. Trying to hear when everything
is jumbled is hard work. It may lead to distraction by background
noise, then loss of focus, and next an increase in fidgeting and
other inappropriate classroom behaviors. APD may present as an attention
deficit disorder, or co-exist with other learning differences. Generally,
behaviors are symptomatic of a cause or causes that require identification
and addressing. The solution to such problems is to determine diagnostically
their specific underlying cause or causes and design the appropriate
remedial treatment program to alleviate them.
Practitioners may use a battery of auditory tests that challenge
the auditory system to diagnose APD. These tests allow the practitioners
to review the level of resistance an individual may have to background
noise, as well as assessing auditory processing speed/timing, auditory
focusing abilities, neural pathways, and other auditory data.
Once the testing is complete and if a practitioner makes a diagnosis
of APD, recommendation for compensating techniques or remedial methods
may follow. Since APD is a term which applies to a number of different
types of auditory processing problems, the practitioner must determine
the individual type or classification in order to select the best
approach to remediation. It is important to find the appropriate
methods for the specific auditory processing type or types of deficits.
With interventions, the brain functions may change, and with appropriate
therapeutic techniques, the brain can improve significantly in auditory
Dr. Seipp is a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology,
and a clinical audiologist who has practiced for 30 years. In private
practice for the last 20 years, he sees patients of all ages at
the Hearing Assessment Center in Baltimore, Maryland with a variety
of hearing disorders, but specializes in Auditory Processing and
Hearing Conservation. The author of numerous published articles,
Dr. Seipp has presented talks, seminars, and courses locally and
nationally to parents, teachers, health care professionals, and
the community on a variety of hearing issues.
© 2003 W.
Stephen Seipp. All rights reserved