A Piece of the Puzzle

Auditory processing weaknesses are often the cause of, contribute to, or simply coexist with many different types of learning problems and developmental disorders. A healthy developing auditory processing system is essential to the development of good listening skills. Accordingly, it is easy to understand how poor listening skills can be so closely linked to problems such as speech, language and learning delays, attention deficit, autism spectrum disorder, reading problems including dyslexia and other sensory processing deficits.


Auditory processing weaknesses are often present in children suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). When faced with a listening task, children with auditory processing weaknesses often exhibit attention issues. In the presence of noise, children with this kind of weakness may become anxious, overwhelmed or frightened and may even show sound sensitivity issues.


Apraxia is a condition related to poor oral motor skills. Children with apraxia find it difficult to plan and produce the precise, highly-refined and specific series of movements of the speech mechanism. Children with apraxia particularly struggle in repeating successions of vowels and consonants. It is often much easier for children with apraxia to repeat simpler motor sounds such as vowels or consonants in isolation.


A neurological disorder that affects how the brain processes sensory information, Autism is often characterized by impaired communication and social interaction. Since a strong auditory processing system is essential to language development, and because language is the foundation of communication and socialization, auditory processing disorder is often a piece of the puzzle connected with Autism.


Dyslexia is a disorder that affects the way an individual learns and processes language. Dyslexia has been around for a long time but has most recently become more prevalent. Originally thought to be a reading disability characterized by the reversal of letters in words, dyslexia today encompasses a wide range of symptoms that primarily affect children of normal intelligence.

Learning Disabilities

An individual with a learning disability has difficulty learning in a typical manner. Learning disabilities surface in adults and children alike due to problems in the brain’s inability to successfully acquire and process information.

Poor Working Memory

Children with poor working memory are often misunderstood. Poor working memory in children leads to attention problems as well as trouble following directions. Working memory is the memory that we use to keep information immediately in mind so that we can complete a task. Adding numbers together in your head or processing driving directions without writing them down are two examples of the ways we use working memory.

Reading Weaknesses

Reading is first an auditory function. Children with auditory processing weaknesses struggle to recognize sound patterns and then attach appropriate visual representations to those sounds. Weaknesses especially in the areas of auditory decoding and temporal processing make it difficult to develop the healthy auditory system needed to learn how to read.

Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory processing disorder is a condition commonly associated with autism, but children without autism can experience it, too. Children with sensory processing disorder may be hyper sensitive (overly sensitive to stimuli) or hypo sensitive (under responsive to stimuli) or they can have a combination of both hyper and hypo sensitivity. When this occurs, it can dramatically change the way a child relates to his or her environment.

Social and Psychological Issues

Many children with auditory processing delays also struggle with social and psychological issues. In fact, there are many different types of social and psychological issues currently linked to auditory processing delays. Fear of failure, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and feelings of not belonging or inadequacy can all surface in a child with auditory processing delays. Behavioral problems including substance abuse and juvenile delinquency have also been linked to auditory processing delays.