Funding for auditory processing disorder (APD) in New Zealand


© Erik Araujo - Sxc

Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a complex hearing disorder reported to affect nearly 5% of school-aged children. Affected individuals cannot process the information they hear in the same way as normal subjects because of impaired coordination between the ear and the brain. People with APD have normal hearing but sounds are not adequately processed by the central nervous system, leading to difficulty understanding speech.

AucklandNow reports on how children with this disorder are not receiving the help and devices they need to hear better, and to perform as well as possible in school.

Shaun Woods was diagnosed early with a genetically inherited sensory deafness but even after he was fitted with hearing aids, his parents found he was still having trouble. "What was happening in the classroom, or even at home, is that we would say a lot of things and he just wouldn't do them," says his mother. "We were frustrated because we thought he wasn't following instructions, but he actually wasn't able to process."

According to the report, the Ministry of Education does not fund the technology he needs because he is meeting national standards in the classroom. "This is a clinical issue and it should be based on clinical need, not educational failure," says Louise Carroll from the National Foundation for the Deaf.

Although awareness of APD is growing, the disorder remains complex because it cannot be diagnosed from a symptoms checklist. Difficulty in understanding speech in noise, in following directions, and in discriminating between similar-sounding parts of speech, may also be found in many other disorders.

Source: AucklandNow