February 20, 2018

What Is Auditory Processing Delay?

Auditory Processing DisorderWe have a new writer for our site. Her name is Kristine, and here is her first offering. It’s about a little known disorder that her son suffers from called auditory processing delay, or auditory processing disorder. Read and learn!

When my son was born, he seemed normal. He cried a lot, and slept very little, but some kids do that, right?

At two years old we noticed he was not talking the same as other two year-olds, so my husband and I took him to see his pediatrician. After explaining our concerns and after the doctor examined him, we were told that he was perfectly normal, and that we had nothing to worry about.

I still had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right. He was easily agitated, and wouldn’t respond to me the way I felt he should. He was a bit “cut-off” from his surroundings. My attempts to potty train were futile. Moms have a special connection with their babies, and I knew he struggled on a social level. We took him back to the doctor, and had him examined again. This time we were also concerned about potty training. The doctor asked him questions, all of which our son, Gabriel, did not understand. Our little boy gave no eye contact. He was frightened when the doctor tried to put a tongue depressor in his mouth. Instead of taking his time and being patient, the doctor grabbed him and forced the tongue depressor down his throat, practically lying on top of him. Gabriel was terrified. We never went back to this office again. We changed pediatricians.

Was Gabriel Autistic?

At the new pediatrician, he was once again examined. We feared maybe he was autistic, as our friends and relatives had warned us. But this doctor said he did not feel that he was autistic. There was a slight possibility that he was on the autism spectrum slightly, but autism was not a concern. He referred us to an audiologist to test his hearing. During the hearing appointment, my husband held him on his lap and Gabriel was excited about this new experience. His passed his hearing test with flying colors which was good, but in a way not-so-good, because he still wasn’t responding normally on a social level. The audiologist told us that there were no doctors in Spokane to help him and that we’d have to look for doctors on the west side of the state. My husband and I both work, and that would be almost impossible, and our hearts sank. We got him involved in skating lessons, swimming lessons, and gymnastics which he loved, but he still made little effort to connect with other children. He seemed to never understand what the teachers were saying. He simply watched and followed.

We went back to our new pediatrician who, at our pleading, referred us to an autism specialist here in town. When we called to make the appointment, they said she was booked out for a year, but they would take our name and call us back.

In the meantime, upon revisiting our pediatrician who continued to reassure us that our son was not autistic, and to stop worrying about the potty training, he recommended speech therapy through a major hospital group in town. We began speech therapy. Each appointment our son was sat in a chair and not allowed to fidget. He was spoken to very matter-of-factly, as were even my husband and I. We were treated less than polite. Gabriel became bored quickly during his therapy and began to dread going. Whenever we had a question for the therapist we were answered in a condescending fashion. One day we received a bill for over $500 from the speech therapy service. When I called about having it sent to the insurance, they informed me that it was our responsibility to do that. I was amazed. Didn’t hospitals usually do that? I had to find out how to send this bill to our insurance. In the end, it was what was left over after the insurance paid. The speech therapy service only bills the insurance for a certain amount of visits. After that, it was our responsibility. We had to come up with the money. We no longer could afford speech therapy for our son.

One day at our son’s preschool, one of the moms gave us a pamphlet for speech therapy through Ritecare Spokane. We had never heard of it. We took the pamphlet and decided to check it out. When we called, they put us on their waiting list. A few weeks later, they got us in for an initial appointment. We were received warmly and treated with respect and dignity, and like we were family. The therapists smiled and laughed with our son and obviously enjoyed what they were doing. We could hardly believe what was happening. They got us in for appointments. Each session, the therapist got down on the floor with Gabriel and played with him. She interjected amazing techniques for him to open up and engage with her. After a few sessions, we were seeing a difference at home. What’s more, they offered classes for parents! We signed up and went to every class we could. And what makes this even more amazing is that it was offered free of charge.

Here, Gabriel finally got his diagnosis: Auditory processing delay

After a couple years of therapy, Gabriel came out of his shell, and began to excel at everything. At the recommendation of his preschool teacher, he stayed one more year in preschool before being pushed on to kindergarten. The therapists all agreed. Even when Gabriel completed his speech therapy at Ritecare, the therapists still called and wrote to see how he was doing. Gabriel had a special graduation from Ritecare, and was one of several wonderful children featured at their fundraisers, which we gratefully attended.

Three years later, we got the call from the autism specialist. Three years! I had forgotten all about them. They were supposed to call us after one year. My repeated attempts to get an appointment after not getting a call from them after a year were snuffed out as I was told to stop calling. We went in to see her, and after a thorough evaluation, we were informed that he was definitely not autistic.

The therapists at Ritecare were able to do what the doctors couldn’t.

Today, Gabriel has been able to excel at everything he does. He is bright and active, and in first grade, which he loves. He interacts with his peers, and shows concern for them. He is growing into a normal child, thanks to Ritecare, who gave him the appropriate diagnosis and therapy, and went above and beyond to educate us as parents to know what to do to ensure Gabriel’s longevity and success long after therapy is over.

Could you use some parenting help?

One tool that we’ve used is Total Transformation by James Lehman. It’s given us a lot of solid, common sense ideas for parenting our challenging children.

About the author: By

Kris is wife to Robert and mom to Gabriel, a wonderful little boy. She enjoys animals, especially horses, and likes to write about children, pets, and other things close to her heart!

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  1. I really salute you for not giving up on searching for something that will help your son. I’m so happy that you got the peace of mind and your son is perfectly ok now without spending any money.

  2. OMG this sounds like our story with our daughter Riley! I am so happy you were able to find help. It’s so hard to find information on Auditory Processing Delay. Riley was able to obtain speech therapy and is now in a special eduation preschool that knows exactly how to work with her. Thank you again for sharing your story!

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Disclaimer: We are not psychologists, counselors, or therapists. We are parents of children with special challenges, and the techniques, tools, and programs we recommend on this website have worked for us on our parenting journey.

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