When the Brain Can't Hear: Unraveling the Mystery of Auditory Processing Disorder

When the Brain Can't Hear: Unraveling the Mystery of Auditory Processing Disorder

5.0 4
by Teri James Bellis
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Millions of Americans have difficulty understanding spoken language.

They're not deaf, autistic, or slow. They have APD.

APD has been called the auditory equivalent of dyslexia, and its debilitatiting effects cross all ages, genders, and races. APD can cause children to fail in school and adults to suffer socially and in their

…  See more details below

Overview

Millions of Americans have difficulty understanding spoken language.

They're not deaf, autistic, or slow. They have APD.

APD has been called the auditory equivalent of dyslexia, and its debilitatiting effects cross all ages, genders, and races. APD can cause children to fail in school and adults to suffer socially and in their careers, but until now, there has been little information available.

Written by Dr. Teri James Bellis, one of the world's foremost authorities on APD, this is the first book on the subject that is completely accessible to the public. Through helpful checklists and case studies, you'll finally discover the answers you need, as well as proven strategies for living with APD. Comprehensive and powerfully prescriptive, this book contains vital information for anyone who suffers from this serious disorder.

When the Brain Can't Hear
gives you all the latest information:

  • What is APD?
  • how APD affects children
  • APD in adults
  • diagnosis and testing
  • treatment options
  • living successfully with APD
  • memory enhancement and other coping techniques

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Diane M Brewer, MA (George Washington University)
Description: This book attempts to inform and guide the parents of children or the adult who may have auditory processing disorders (APD). It is written in a clear and interesing style suited to the lay reader.
Purpose: The author has met her objective in providing a wealth of information illustrated by case studies. She seeks to "unravel the mystery of auditory processing disorder" as the subtitle states. The goal is a worthy one. APD is often confused with other problems and is difficult for the lay person (and often professionals) to understand. The author has done a wonderful job of trying to clarify the issues.
Audience: The book is written for the consumer: the parent of the child with APD and the adult with APD. The author has been writing and lecturing about APD for the past 15 years and is an acknowledged authority in the area.
Features: The many types of APDs are defined through a series of case studies. The book goes on to cover the complex relationships between language, cognition and learning, and APD. APD is discussed across the lifespan with chapters covering children, adults and the elderly. The chapter on diagnoses of APD carefully outlines who should and should not have APD testing. It outlines the possible procedures and other information needed to complete the picture of APD. The author includes common sense information throughout the text. For example, parents should consider what would be added to the current management plan for a child as a result of APD testing before undergoing an evaluation. The author also presents information on treatments for APD and gives tips on living with APD. Anecdotes are used throughout the book to illustrate the points, making it easy to read and engaging.
Assessment: The author has done an excellent job of providing a vast amount of information about auditory processing disorders in an accessible format. Throughout the book, there is a positive tone of support and optimism. This book should be a wonderful resource for parents and adults who need guidance through the maze of APD information.
Reviewer: Diane M Brewer, MA(George Washington University)
Description: This book attempts to inform and guide the parents of children or the adult who may have auditory processing disorders (APD). It is written in a clear and interesing style suited to the lay reader.
Purpose: The author has met her objective in providing a wealth of information illustrated by case studies. She seeks to "unravel the mystery of auditory processing disorder" as the subtitle states. The goal is a worthy one. APD is often confused with other problems and is difficult for the lay person (and often professionals) to understand. The author has done a wonderful job of trying to clarify the issues.
Audience: The book is written for the consumer: the parent of the child with APD and the adult with APD. The author has been writing and lecturing about APD for the past 15 years and is an acknowledged authority in the area.
Features: The many types of APDs are defined through a series of case studies. The book goes on to cover the complex relationships between language, cognition and learning, and APD. APD is discussed across the lifespan with chapters covering children, adults and the elderly. The chapter on diagnoses of APD carefully outlines who should and should not have APD testing. It outlines the possible procedures and other information needed to complete the picture of APD. The author includes common sense information throughout the text. For example, parents should consider what would be added to the current management plan for a child as a result of APD testing before undergoing an evaluation. The author also presents information on treatments for APD and gives tips on living with APD. Anecdotes are used throughout the book to illustrate the points, making it easy to read and engaging.
Assessment: The author has done an excellent job of providing a vast amount of information about auditory processing disorders in an accessible format. Throughout the book, there is a positive tone of support and optimism. This book should be a wonderful resource for parents and adults who need guidance through the maze of APD information.
bn.com
Dr. Teri James Bellis provides an authoritative work on auditory processing disorder (APD), covering the fundamentals of diagnosis and treatment as well as the broader social and emotional impact of APD on its sufferers. Written with expertise and compassion and fortified with ample stories of patients, this illuminating book will greatly benefit sufferers, their families, and their health care providers, while also contributing significantly to the public awareness of 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.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743428637
Publisher:
Atria Books
Publication date:
02/01/1902
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.25(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Many Faces of APD

Jeff was seventeen years old, over six feet tall, and outweighed me by at least a hundred pounds. He was a big kid. Tough, too. He was one of the starring offensive linemen on his high school football team. Word had it that he could cut through the other team's defense like a knife through butter, scattering smaller players in all directions.

Yet, despite all of his toughness, he had a gentle, polite manner and a heart of gold. When Jeff and his mother arrived at the clinic, he greeted me with a shy smile. He was extremely cooperative during testing and apologized whenever he made a mistake or missed an item. He even called me "ma'am." I'm not too fond of that generally, but, coming from him, I found it quite endearing. Which is probably why I felt as if my heart were breaking when, halfway through my explanation of his test results, he dropped his head onto his folded hands and began to cry.

My voice stuttered to a stop. I laid my hand lightly on Jeff's shoulder, and he grasped it in his large, meaty palm and squeezed.

In a choked voice, he whispered, "I thought I was just stupid."

"What do you mean?"

He lifted his head and met my gaze. There was relief in his eyes, but also anger, embarrassment, and just a little defiance.

"You know, dumb jock. I just always figured I was stupid. That's why I couldn't get it. I was just a big, dumb jock. A joke."

These were astounding words coming from a boy who had just been elected "most popular" in his junior class and was a sure bet for prom king in his senior year.

Jeff had experienced academic difficulties ever since he had begun school. He had had problems learning to spell and read and still struggled with those subjects in his junior year in high school. He liked the idea of losing himself in a book, of journeying to far-off lands or reading about historical people, but he rarely opened a book unless forced to. Jeff had a difficult time sounding out the words, so his reading was slow and laborious. As he described it, by the time he figured out what the words were, he had lost the thread of the story.

But Jeff loved to spin tales. He would make up stories about princes and dragons, life in the circus and travels to outer space, and tell them to his younger brother, who would sit spellbound in wonder as the stories unfolded. Creative as he was, Jeff never wrote his stories down. As with his reading, spelling was a struggle, so much so that even if he focused on telling the story and just coming close enough to the spelling of the words so that he could return and correct them later, he was unable to understand his own writing when it came time to polish what he had set to paper. As a result, his English composition and creative writing papers were short, poorly organized, and contained only simple language and elementary vocabulary. They exhibited no hint whatsoever of the imaginative mind of the boy who held the pen.

Jeff came from a rural school district, and special education services were scarce. Nevertheless, during his elementary school years, he did qualify for reading remediation and tutoring under the classification of learning disability. Since junior high school, however, he had not received any services, primarily because he consistently earned A's and B's in all of his classes. Therefore, the school-based special education team had decided that his reading problems were no longer affecting him academically.

The reason for Jeff's apparent educational success was, unfortunately, all too common. As a student who excelled at football in a town where football was all-important, he had been passed through every class since he was in the ninth grade. No academic probation or C's for our boy, no, sir. In fact, his good academic record, combined with his amazing sports ability, had already resulted in offers of full-ride sports scholarships from several major universities — before he had even begun his senior year in high school.

Any other kid in his shoes would have been turning cartwheels.

But Jeff was different. He was acutely aware that he hadn't earned the grades he had been given. In fact, despite putting several hours into his studies every night after football practice, he knew that he should, by rights, barely be passing subjects such as social studies, history, and English composition.

His mother had initiated Jeff's referral to me for central auditory processing evaluation. Because she saw Jeff still struggling so hard with reading, she had arranged for independent, private testing by a specialist in learning disabilities. This testing had confirmed that Jeff exhibited low average to borderline abilities in reading decoding (e.g., sounding out words, or word-attack skills), general fund of knowledge, and auditory discrimination abilities. Other symptoms leading to the suspicion of auditory processing deficit were his difficulty following information presented in lectures and, particularly illuminating, his inability to hear the quarterback of his football team call plays during the huddle. "I can't ever hear him," he told me. "But I don't let on. I just keep my eye on where the ball is. I know what I'm supposed to do, so I just go out there and do it." In this manner, Jeff had succeeded in football without anyone being aware of what he had secretly come to call his "hearing problem."

In social situations, he frequently smiled his shy smile and nodded rather than jumping into the conversation, furthering others' perception of him as the sweet, strong, silent type. And when he was unable to answer questions posed directly to him or answered as if he hadn't been paying attention, he took the ribbing of his friends — still with the same, shy smile.

But inside Jeff was hurting.

"You're not stupid, Jeff," I told him. "You never were. You have what we call an auditory processing disorder. Basically, what this means is that your hearing itself is fine, but what gets into the ear somehow gets jumbled by the time it gets to the brain. Because of this, different letters may sound the same to you, making it hard to tell the difference between different speech sounds. Or you might hear what someone is saying, but it's distorted or muffled, like the person is mumbling, especially if there's a lot of noise around. If you can't hear the speech sounds clearly, it's hard to learn how to sound out words when you're reading or to spell them when you're writing. That's why you have to work so hard." With that, Jeff released my hand, nodded once, and listened while I explained the rest of the test results and what I thought we should do to help him overcome his disorder. A disorder that had a name for the first time. One that could be addressed, confronted, and although maybe not completely fixed, one for which he could at least learn ways of compensating.

That was when Jeff shared his dreams for the future with me. It wasn't enough for him to be popular, to be a football star, and to have a college education virtually handed to him on a platter. It wasn't enough that there was already talk of his possibly not needing to finish college, of being picked up by a farm team or even a pro team before he even reached his senior year at whatever university he chose.

Jeff had bigger plans. "I'm happy about the whole scholarship thing, sure," he admitted. "I mean, that'll get me there, pay for everything. And I like football. It's fun." He shrugged. "But I really want to do well in college. I want to learn. I don't want to be a football player for real, not after college. I mean, that's not what I want to do with my life."

"What do you want to do with your life?" I inquired gently.

He dropped his head just a little, almost apologetically, and color rushed to his cheeks. "I want to be a lawyer," he said, very, very quietly.

"Like my dad."

And at that, his mother began to cry, too.

Jeff was facing a unique set of difficulties. On the one hand, he was virtually assured a college education. On the other hand, for him to reach his goal, he would have to actually perform in college. Football might get him through with a general liberal arts degree, but to be a lawyer he would have to go beyond that. He wouldn't be able to hide behind the misguided, albeit well-meaning, protection of his coaches or teachers. He would have to meet high academic expectations just to get into law school, then perform at an even more advanced level to succeed once he was accepted. He wouldn't be able to rely on his good looks and charming personality.

Jeff was aware of all of these things. Just as he was excruciatingly aware that his problems with reading and writing — his 'hearing problem" — would pose substantial barriers to his ever being able to meet those expectations.

But at least now the disorder had a name. He could take comfort in the fact that he wasn't stupid as he had always feared. Instead "his difficulties had a very real physiologic cause. And we had agreed on an intensive plan of attack, including therapy techniques, environmental modification suggestions, and ways for him to compensate for his difficulties. When he left my office, he was once again smiling. This time it was a smile full of hope.

After intensive computer-based therapy, Jeff's reading decoding and auditory discrimination skills improved significantly. Acknowledging his disorder and giving it a name helped him to gain confidence in himself and his abilities. So, too, did teaching him to become an active listener and providing him with strategies to compensate for his disorder. Right now, Jeff is a sophomore in college, majoring in political science and playing football on a full-ride scholarship. He receives some special accommodations related to his disorder through the university's office of disabilities services, and he is earning solid A's and B's.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Jeff did, indeed, finally make it to law school.

Jeff's story is somewhat typical of the children I see with APD. Many of them complain of difficulty with spelling and reading, inability to understand what is being said especially with noise in the background, and inner feelings of inadequacy and ignorance. Children with APD gradually become aware that something is wrong because they find themselves having to work so much harder at certain tasks than their friends do. Many children with APD, like Jeff, perform near enough to the normal range in school to disqualify them for special services. However, even those children who achieve some academic success usually come home from school at the end of every day exhausted from having to spend so much effort just listening. Then they are faced with several more grueling hours of effort to finish homework that might take their friends less than half that time to complete. Over time, they may learn to compensate to some degree for the disorder. But many children with APD continue to have problems into adulthood, especially if the disorder goes undiagnosed and untreated.

Also like Jeff, many children with APD become masters at hiding their disorder. In their early years, they may try to participate in conversations or classroom discussions; however, because their input is frequently off-topic or shows a lack of comprehension of the topic, they may be ridiculed, laughed at, or — even worse — simply ignored. After years of this, some children simply withdraw from communication altogether. Some become sullen and sit in their chairs with arms folded and hands fisted, belligerent scowls on their faces, daring anyone and everyone to attempt a connection. But this is merely a mask that allows them to protect their vulnerable, hidden inner selves and to retain some semblance of power over the daily situations in which they feel powerless. Although this frequently leads to social isolation, it is a self-imposed isolation and appears far more preferable and less humiliating to the child than the inevitable overt exclusion by others that they have experienced throughout their lives.

Others, like Jeff, continue to participate in life, to accumulate friends and join in extracurricular activities. This is particularly true for those children who exhibit some special talent in other areas such as sports, music, art, or theater. This special talent gives them an outlet for their need to connect with others while, at the same time, providing them with at least one environment in which they feel safe and can succeed. But even these children must deal with the frequent, and often unintentionally cruel, barbs from friends and teachers, the perception of them as somewhat "slow," the teasing that accompanies their frequent social and communicative faux pas — "Jeez, what are you, stupid or something?" So they, too, wear a mask of smiling tolerance and become the "good buddy" who'll put up with anything. And they frequently withdraw in their own way, becoming quiet followers in the parade of life, seemingly happy, sometimes even popular, but, all the while, bleeding inside.

Copyright (c) 2002 Teri James Bellis, Ph.D.

Read More

Meet the Author

Teri James Bellis, Ph.d., is a professor of audiology at the University of South Dakota and the author of the authoritative text for professionals on the diagnosis and treatment of APD. Ironically, she herself became the victim of adult-onset APD as the result of head trauma suffered in a car accident.

Her writing has been featured in numerous medical and academic publications, including the prestigious Journal of Neuroscience. She lives in South Dakota.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

When the Brain Can't Hear: Unraveling the Mystery of Auditory Processing Disorder 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Kacibee More than 1 year ago
I always knew my son was highly intelligent, but with his APD, it made it a bit harder for him. This book taught me a lot. Especially what he hears and how he hears it. Every person who has an APD, or knows someone who has one should read this book. It is a must read for sure. Even now, with my son in college, and a Biology Major with nanotechnology concentration, I needed to read this book. It answered so many questions for me!
Chrissycat77 More than 1 year ago
Can't wait to get my copy. I will update my review when I'm done reading. I've heard nothing but great things. My 16 yr old son is extremenly athletic, yet severely impaired academically. He's popular, built, attractive, etc.. He struggles in silence as the author stated... I wish I could take this away from him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago