Like Sound Through Water: A Mother's Journey Through Auditory Processing Disorder

Like Sound Through Water: A Mother's Journey Through Auditory Processing Disorder

5.0 6
by Karen J. Foli, Edward M. Hallowell

At three, Ben still hadn't started talking. Karen Foli took her son to a speech and hearing clinic. The clinicians found Ben's speech was delayed by one to two years. Karen learned of APD, auditory processing disorder -- the aural equivalent of dyslexia.See more details below


At three, Ben still hadn't started talking. Karen Foli took her son to a speech and hearing clinic. The clinicians found Ben's speech was delayed by one to two years. Karen learned of APD, auditory processing disorder -- the aural equivalent of dyslexia.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) occurs when the brain cannot process or understand correctly the sounds the ears hear, even though the ears might be functioning properly. It is rarely recognized, often misdiagnosed, and poorly understood, yet the effects can be devastating. Pocket is simultaneously releasing two complementary texts on the subject that are definitely worth some notice. Foli's Like Sound Through Water is a mother's account of her family's struggle with APD in her oldest son, Ben. Her account reads like a novel and is thoroughly engaging while providing a wealth of information. Foli clearly shows the pain misdiagnosis and clinical inaccuracies can cause. While finally obtaining a correct diagnosis brought some relief, Foli shows that the battle for normalcy had only begun. This is mostly a success story with an upbeat ending. The resource section in the back is a bonus. Bellis's When the Brain Can't Hear is the first APD sourcebook written specifically for lay readers. Bellis, the author of an important text on APD for professionals (Assessment and Management of Central Auditory Processing Disorders in the Educational Setting from Science to Practice), herself suffers from APD as the result of a car accident. Her text is naturally more clinical in nature but still quite readable. It covers the many subtypes of APD and their manifestations, diagnosis and testing, treatment options, and coping techniques. The ample glossary adds to the book's accessibility. Either of these texts would be appropriate additions to most collections, but they are best purchased together. The diagnosis of APD is seen more frequently, and with no other lay texts on the subject available, these books are absolutely essential. KellyJo Houtz Griffin, Eatonville, WA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
Library Journali Thoroughly engaging while providing a wealth of information.

Booklist [A] practical, heartwarming book.

Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. Read this book as you would a novel, a story about discovery and disappointment, understanding and misunderstanding, learning and not learning, hope and despair, and love in the face of difficult times, love that never, never quits.

A parent in Wisconsin Karen's story has meant the world to me.

A parent in Alaska This book has somehow made my family's journey valid. You, Karen, are a lighthouse in my ocean.

Jacqueline Egli, Executive Director PACE Brantley-Hall School, Longwood, Florida This book has become required reading for my staff and a recommended reading for parents. Dr. Foli gives us all a lesson in persistence, patience, hope, and the importance of teamwork.

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Product Details

Atria Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.74(h) x 0.98(d)

Meet the Author

Karen J. Foli holds a Ph.D. in communications research from the University of Illinois. A writer who is also a registered nurse with years of experience in teaching, clinical practice, consultation, and research, she lives in Nashville, Indiana, with her husband and their three children. Visit her website at

Read an Excerpt


A mother always knows when something is wrong with her child. If it's a physical problem, the reaction is simple and swift. She takes the child to a doctor. But when the problem is mental or emotional, when the child is not developing as fast as he should, the situation is so overwhelming that denial sets in. The mother and father talk. Frequently, the father comforts the mother. He tells her she's worrying unnecessarily, that each child is different, that their child will develop at his or her own pace. That's what my husband told me and he should know. He's a board certified psychiatrist with special training in child and adolescent disorders. For that matter, I'm also a professional, a registered nurse who holds a master's degree in nursing and a doctorate in communications.

But I couldn't keep on denying what was in front of my eyes. My son, Ben, not only couldn't talk by the age of three, he couldn't comprehend the simplest things said to him. He wouldn't make eye contact. He was anxious, distracted, and although he reacted to noise, he often wouldn't turn when I spoke to him. Finally, I knew I had to act. I took him to a speech and hearing clinic. To those professionals and personal friends who were unfamiliar with Ben, questions surrounding mental retardation (a cognitive problem) and/or autism (a social and communication problem) arose from his presentation.

I have learned to never underestimate a mother's intuition. The people who had these questions about my son were highly respected professionals with all the modern diagnostic tools. They certainly should have been able to know what was wrong with Ben. But as I looked into my son's eyes, I knew they were missing something. I had no idea what the problem was. But I did know with certainty that he was not retarded, that he was not autistic, and so I set out on a journey. It is that journey I want to share with you, for although in a literal sense it is the specific journey of Ben and me, it is also the journey that every parent in the world takes to learn the truth and help his or her child.

. . .

"So Ben is pretty much like what you see when you evaluate kids with speech problems?" I brushed my skirt off and sat in a cold chair, my ankle hurting slightly. I was sure he was typical of what they saw. They probably saw a lot worse. They probably got kids referred from all over the state for evaluations.

Rita looked directly at me. "No. Ben has a significant delay. Very significant. Much more so than what we typically come across."

I don't recall much after that. Rita kept talking and I kept nodding and smiling and pretending to understand. I couldn't let my guard down. Couldn't let them see how I felt inside. Not until I understood it myself. Before we left, Rita took us to see the preschool room. We had to take an elevator up to the ground floor.

"Inowhyno," Ben anxiously uttered from inside the small moving cubicle.

I guessed he was seeking reassurance. "It's okay, Benny," I whispered into his ear.

After we got off the elevator, there were more construction droppings to walk around. I was carrying Ben, his arms tightly wound around my neck. He wouldn't let go even as I tried to show him the room.

"He's really attached to you, isn't he?" Rita said.

"Yes," I said with pride.

Her face became serious. "Well, we'll have to see if the preschool will work out. He's never been away from you?"

"No," I said flatly. "He hasn't." I walked around the room a bit, the toys and learning stations barely registering. I noticed another large one-way window/mirror along one wall. I heard her explain about the contexts of learning provided to children and the opportunities the children had to explore in the environment. Then her voice faded out completely. I know I said good-bye and probably thanked her. I probably talked to Joanne when I picked Peter up. But I don't remember any of it.

Copyright (c) 2002 Karen J. Foli, Ph.D.

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