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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 (Foreword by), Edward M. Hallowell, M. Hallowell Edward (Foreword by)
A person with auditory processing disorder receives jumbled and distorted sounds. But the ability to here is usually normal. Even though it affects millions of Americans, APD can be difficult to diagnose and challenging to treat. Through years of research, and personal interviews, Karen Foli learned everything she needed to know about APD in order to help her son


A person with auditory processing disorder receives jumbled and distorted sounds. But the ability to here is usually normal. Even though it affects millions of Americans, APD can be difficult to diagnose and challenging to treat. Through years of research, and personal interviews, Karen Foli learned everything she needed to know about APD in order to help her son achieve the greatest gift of all: communication. Like Sound Through Water is her story - winning, inspiring, and true.

Editorial Reviews

This is a deeply personal story of a mother's struggle to understand auditory processing disorder (APD) -- an illness that impedes the ability to make sense of verbal communication and that threatened to rob the author's son of any chance of living a normal life. Karen Foli's ultimately successful attempt to help her son overcome this condition will inspire and educate readers, while providing valuable advice -- about both the practical and emotional aspects of dealing with the illness -- to anyone with a loved one grappling with APD.
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.

Product Details

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

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.

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 www.karenfoli.com

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Like Sound Through Water 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a rare find: a memoir that reads like a novel but offers so much more to the reader than a compelling story. It shows what can happen when a mother and father keep looking for the answer to the question, Why can't our son communicate with his world as other children can? Why can't he speak? Why can't he understand what is said to him? It provides one of the best examples I've ever read of how a mother's love and belief in her child can overcome the efforts of professionals and experts to label the child, even though the label clearly doesn't fit. When I finished the book, I was filled with hope and the belief that there's so much that can be done to help these children reach their potentials. Foli brings the reader into her home and family, unfolding the story of the journey she and her son, Ben, took to find a correct diagnosis and help. One of the things I love the most about this book is how Foli brings each event in this often difficult journey to life with sometimes painful details and often refreshingly honest humor. For example, there's a heartbreaking scene early in the book in which the child's grandfather realizes that his grandson simply doesn't understand when spoken to. But the book is more than a memoir that I couldn't put down. It's also a firsthand account--the first one available--of what a child and family experience when a child has auditory processing disorder. I was especially interested in this because a nephew of mine has had similar difficulties communicating: garbled speech, difficulty understanding words. I really appreciated the author's detailed description of the programs and strategies that helped her son: Fast ForWord, Step 4Word, Fokes Sentence Builder, and the Lindamood- Bell LiPS programs. Foli also provides a basic guide to auditory processing disorder in the final chapter, along with brief case studies of other children and their experiences overcoming APD. The additional resources ending the book offer a good starting place to find more information on the disorder. All in all, this book is a refreshingly honest, well- written, and informative memoir of a mother who never, ever gave up on her son.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is simply a magnificent gift. What credentials does a mother have if she disagrees with a professional? Karen clearly outlines the meaning of specific tests my child also took and how her utter belief and unstinting support changed Ben's life. Follow your intuition.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like Sound Through Water is one of the best books I have ever read on processing problems. Her journey is told in a novel like fashion so the information is easy to follow and even easier to understand. Karen Foli has taken a very challenging subject to understand added her heart and made it easily accessible. By sharing her personal expereinces Karen will inspire parents with the tools necessary to help their children to reach their highest potential. Her work has helped me both with the children I work with as an Occupational Therapist and also with my own child who has had processing challenges. What a blessing her work is.