Auditory Processing Disorder: Can Improving Temporal Order Help Your Child?

Auditory Processing Disorder:  Can Improving Temporal Order Help Your Child?

Did you know that there is a way to directly address that “out of synch” quality your APD child seems to exhibit?

Recent research reveals that improving temporal order could be a worthwhile focus for children with auditory processing disorder.

“Temporal order” is simply the arrangement of events in time. Research shows that APD sufferers seem to experience a disruption in the ability to properly process the order and rate of auditory information, also referred to as “temporal (timed) processing.”

That’s right, APD might just be a timing problem. Not a hearing, vision, or intelligence problem.

Basically, your child is experiencing a brain-timing delay that keeps him or her a beat behind, when perceiving and understanding heard information. His or her brain needs more time to process what was heard, before attempting a response. Even then, that timing difference allows for distortion and distraction, which further complicate understanding.

It makes sense then, that by enhancing your child’s capacity to process auditory stimulus, in the appropriate amount of time, he or she could produce better language skills and comprehension.

Programs, like Interactive Metronome and Fast ForWord, strive to do just that. Through these methods, temporal order improvement in APD children can help achieve the following ends:

1. New pathways in the brain can be built. This concept employs what scientists call neuroplasticity. Your child’s learning is NOT set in stone. He or she can participate in brain training, and retraining, that allows him or her to practice a new way of perceiving auditory input. Processing what is heard, recognized, and remembered can be amended through the retrained brain.

A 2007 study published in Current Directions in Psychological Science indicates that improved mental timing effectively enhances the brain’s ability to “process information in the speech stream” more efficiently. This, in turn, leads to the appropriate skill development required for auditory comprehension, reading and writing.

Fast ForWord was actually created around the concept that temporal processing deficits are a core obstacle for children with APD, and that neural plasticity, new ways of learning, occur through repetition.

2. Your child can finally “synch up” with his or her surroundings. Studies indicate that APD is likely occurring due to a split-second delay in auditory processing, not a physical problem with ears or eyes. The usual 25 milliseconds required for processing basic speech sounds in most people take up to 300 milliseconds in people with learning disorders.

Computerized programs focused on temporal order can help compensate for this difference, and teach your child to keep pace with the world around him or her.

Interactive Metronome (IM) training teaches this foundational skill through an organized sequence of exercises. Once grasped, you and your child will see other learning and social improvements that rely upon time perception.

3. Your child will begin to “hear what he/she feels.” Those of us without APD don’t know what it’s like to feel continually disconnected from the rhythms of the environments, people, and events of the world around us. It feels natural. Not so for people with APD, who are continually struggling to tune in, and track what’s happening, amid the rapid changes in sound and speech. That lack of capacity negatively impacts language recognition and comprehension, as well as muscle coordination.

The beauty of improved temporal order, through a program like IM, is that by moving or tapping to a beat, your child’s brain receives the necessary stimulus for retraining his or her “brain clock.” Over time, listening and temporal (or timed) information become better linked, and auditory processing is enhanced.