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Can I Get my Child an IEP for an Auditory Processing Disorder?

If your child has been struggling in school, and you think that your child may have an auditory processing disorder, you may wonder what your next steps should be. Auditory processing disorder is when your child’s brain struggles to process and understand auditory information. 

Getting your child an IEP for auditory processing disorder can seem daunting. The first step is to request an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which outlines specific accommodations and goals for your child's education.

To request an IEP, you should contact your child's school and request a meeting with their special education team. During this meeting, you can discuss concerns and provide information about your child's diagnosis, such as an audiological evaluation for auditory processing disorder. Make sure to request it in writing and keep copies of all of your communications with the school.

It is important to remember that all students have the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE), and being proactive in requesting an IEP can help ensure your child receives the support they need in the classroom. Even though the Individuals with Education Act (IDEA) doesn’t specifically list auditory processing disorders as a disability, they are considered a specific learning disability.  

How are Auditory Processing Disorders Diagnosed?

Auditory Processing Disorder, or APD, is a specific learning disability that affects a person's ability to process and comprehend auditory information. It can manifest itself in difficulty following directions, trouble with phonics and decoding, and problem processing information presented verbally. For your child to qualify for an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP, they must be evaluated by a psychologist or psychiatrist and diagnosed by an audiologist with an auditory processing disorder.

The evaluation often includes tests specific to the auditory processing abilities and other assessments to rule out other possible specific learning disabilities or disorders. You can request an IEP for your child after a diagnosis to provide accommodations and support to ensure their success. It is important to note that there is no cure for an auditory processing disorder, but early intervention and appropriate support can improve outcomes for individuals with the disorder.

How does an Auditory Processing Disorder Impact Learning in the Classroom?

Auditory processing disorder is when your child’s brain struggles to process and understand auditory information, even though there may be no issue with their hearing. It can lead to difficulty in areas such as following instructions, remembering conversations, and discriminating between sounds. 

These challenges can significantly impact your child’s ability to learn effectively in the classroom. For example, a student with an auditory processing disorder may have trouble paying attention and participating in discussions or may struggle to spell words they have heard out loud correctly. While it can present difficulties, understanding and support from educators can help students with this disorder succeed in the classroom.

Accommodations for Students with an Auditory Processing Disorder

Teachers and staff must understand your child’s disorder to find effective accommodations. With the proper support, students with an auditory processing disorder can still excel in their education. Some common accommodations that can help support your child include the following:

  • Assigned seating closer to the teacher
  • Noise-canceling headphones with FM system for teacher
  • Allowing your child to wear noise-canceling headphones during lessons to filter out background noise
  • Assigned seating plans allowing your child to sit in front of the room away from windows or air condition vents
  • Quite workspace
  • Extra time for testing
  • Teacher notes or outlines
  • Written or picture-based instructions
  • Providing written notes or instructions instead of verbal communication
  • Providing written copies of class notes and instruction
  • Allowing alternate methods of communication, such as writing or drawing
Accommodations for Auditory Processing Disorder

These accommodations help level the playing field for students with an auditory processing disorder by addressing their challenges and allowing them to access the curriculum fully.

Teachers and administrators must be aware of their accommodations and collaborate with parents and specialists to implement them properly. Providing IEP accommodations for an auditory processing disorder can ensure that all students have equal opportunities for success.

How to Advocate for your Child with an Auditory Processing Disorder 

If your child has been diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder, advocating for them can initially feel overwhelming. It’s important to remember that you know your child best, and you are their most important advocate.

Begin by gathering as much information about the disorder as possible, including symptoms and potential treatment options. Next, meet with your child’s teachers and school administrators to discuss accommodations they can make in the classroom, such as providing written instructions or seating them near the front of the class. Next, consider seeking an experienced therapist who specializes in auditory processing disorder to work with your child regularly.

Most importantly, stay open to communication and be willing to work with others to find solutions that work for your child’s individual needs. It may take some time and effort, but advocating for your child will ultimately lead to a better learning experience for them in the long run.

Tips on how to Support Your Child's Education

It’s vital to have open communication and organization with your child’s teachers. First and foremost, you must keep open communication lines with your child's teachers and other school staff. Regularly check in with their teachers to ensure they clearly understand your child’s unique needs and how best to support them in the classroom.

You can also help your child stay organized by creating a system for managing paperwork, staying on top of school assignments, and scheduling meetings or therapy sessions. It can also be helpful for families to educate themselves on auditory processing disorder and advocate for their child's needs within the school system. You can effectively support your child's academic journey by maintaining strong communication and staying organized.

Resources for Parents with Children who have an Auditory Processing Disorder

Children with auditory processing disorder may struggle with tasks such as following directions or understanding speech in noisy environments. While an auditory processing disorder can be challenging for parents and educators, various resources are available to support your child. For example, speech and language therapy can help improve communication skills, and special education services may also be necessary for the classroom.

Furthermore, teachers and parents can take steps to create a supportive learning environment, such as speaking clearly and directly to the child, reducing background noise, and providing visual aids when possible. There are also support groups and online forums where individuals can connect with others who have experience managing auditory processing disorder. By utilizing these resources, parents and educators can work together to effectively support children with this disorder.

Although auditory processing disorder can be complex for both children and parents, it is vital to continue to advocate for your child. Many accommodations can be made in the classroom to help students with this disorder succeed. Additionally, many resources are available for parents and educators working with children with an auditory processing disorder. 

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