Does My Preschooler Have a Language Problem?

Use these developmental milestones for indications that your child might show signs of auditory processing problems.

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Children Are More at Risk for APD...

• After complicated births. Newborns who endure physically traumatic arrivals appear more likely to develop an auditory processing disorder.

• After premature births. Preemies are sometimes born with an immature or weakened sensory system, affecting their ability to effectively process sound.

• In the aftermath of chronic middle ear infections (otitis media).

• In boys more than girls. In my practice I see boys and girls with APD or APD symptoms in about equal numbers, but some sources observe that two- thirds of children with APD are male.

• In children that have been neglected or isolated after birth.

From day one a healthy child with undamaged hearing needs to hear sounds that will encourage his or her brain to install and streamline the pathways and connections that make speech and language possible. A household or living situation where a newborn is exposed to manageable amounts of quality language and sound is simply vital to developing the skill of listening. If a child arrives in the world and is placed in an environment that doesn’t address this need, his auditory processing skills may not develop the way they should. APD is often seen in children who have been neglected at birth. While many adopted children receive the necessary auditory developmental boost from attentive caregivers and foster parents, some children are born into situations where they had to subsist on the bare minimum necessary to survive, let alone develop, learn, and grow. The good news is that with interventions, parents and caregivers can begin to make up for these early deficits and foster the neural connections that were not nurtured early in a child’s life.

Next: What It's Like to Have APD

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