A COMMON TYPE OF AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDER AFFECTING SCHOOL-AGED KIDS
INFORMATION FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS
By Dr. Leah Light Au.D.
Amblyaudia, also called an auditory Integration Deficit, relates to weak connections between the hearing reception center in the brain and other related sensory areas (most notably, vision). Deficits are often due to weak interhemispheric integration (between the two hemispheres). Children with auditory integration deficits may have trouble processing rapid, connected speech discourse because it takes longer for them to “digest” what has been said due to the inefficient ability to use both sides of the brain together or to connect hearing to other input-output modalities.
Receptive and expressive language skills may be deficient, including symbolic, syntactic, and semantic skills. Pragmatic skills and ability to communicate effectively with peers may be affected by difficulty associating verbal (words) and non-verbal (tone of voice, facial expressions) speech cues, often resulting in behavioral outbursts or withdrawal. Most significant is their difficulty understanding parts-to-whole concepts, recognizing patterns, or organizing pieces of information into a gestalt. In other words, children with auditory integration deficits have trouble “seeing the larger picture.” Instead, they may get stuck focusing on irrelevant details.
Reading and spelling deficiencies are commonly experienced due to difficulties with sensory integration and sequential thought processes. In the classroom, the child with an auditory integration deficit may take a “wait and see” approach, watching what other students are doing before beginning tasks. They have difficulty knowing “how to do” what is required and often need additional time for completing assignments. In many cases, they must be shown a task repeatedly until “it sticks,” or they will need to be taught an alternative way to get the job done.
As task demands increase, children with Amblyaudia become less able to tolerate distractions, especially if they must expend more effort trying the “figure out” what comes next. Although their processing skills are considerably slower than most, children with auditory integration issues may be able to come up with the correct answer if given extra time to respond.Reading and listening comprehension may be difficult for these kids, especially when asked to recall specific details mentioned such as “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” and “why.” Children with Amblyaudia are sometimes described as being lazy or inattentive and characteristically respond to questions by saying “I don’t get it” or “I don’t know how.” They are often overly concerned with time and amount, asking “what time is it?” or“how much longer?” or “How many more?”. Despite this preoccupation, they frequently have difficulty learning math concepts relating to time, space, money, and amount. In addition, they may have been diagnosed as ADHD – Primarily Inattentive Type.
Intervention strategies for auditory integration deficiencies should include giving simple, well-paced messages that do not “overload” the child in terms of linguistic length or complexity. In the classroom, these children can benefit from an experiential, well-structured, “hands-on” learning environment. A highly animated, creative teacher with a melodic voice, and one who uses ample demonstration and examples, is a good choice for this type of child. This allows the child to maximize their access to prosodic features of speech (which may need to be learned) and provides the “how-to” instruction and practice that these children need. A multi-sensory environment replete with visual, tactile, or other sensory enhancements will be effective but only if concrete examples and repeated modeling of the desired response are provided. Simply adding extra cues will be of little value to the child with an integration problem unless he is shown “how to” use those cues. If presented simultaneously, auditory-visual cues must “match” or confusion will result in conflicting sensory messages. An alternative is to present information in a sequential manner, one modality at a time (e.g. tell the child the instructions, then show the child what to do; listen then look as opposed to listen and look). These children must know the task demands “up front” so that they will not be “overwhelmed” by the demands later on.
Remediation techniques to improve the interhemispheric transfer of functions include musical instrument training, singing, dancing, and linguistic labeling of tactile stimuli (e.g. “reach into this bag and describe what you feel inside”). “Simon Says” and “Mother May I” strengthen both integration and the ability to listen for and extract key information from a complex message. Another task that teaches extraction of keywords or information from a complex message would be to have the child identify the “who,” “what,” “when,” or “where” from a story, newspaper, or magazine article. Other direction following games or activities that require action in a specified pattern can be useful (e.g. “Simon” toy, “Bopit,” “Brain Warp,” karate, gymnastics, cheerleading, baton) for improvement of both transfer of function and pattern recognition skills. Even cooking according to a recipe or doing common household chores that have a specific order, can serve to enhance pattern recognition and temporal ordering skills. Activities that start with a “whole” and then teach “parts-to-whole” may also be useful for these children (e.g. working a jigsaw puzzle, building a model airplane, re-telling a story). The use of visualization techniques to teach the child how to create mental images of stories, facts, or other spoken information is essential.
Direct intervention for Amblyaudiais provided through programs such as DIID (Dichotic Interaural Intensity Differences), ARIA (Auditory Rehabilitation for Interaural Asymmetry), and CAPDOTS, all of which are provided at Brainchild Institute. For more information, please contact us at 954-987-8887.
I am not sure where we would be if we had not travelled from Georgia to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to work with Dr. Light and her team. It is a trip we have made 3 times (1 week each) of intensive MNRI therapy for our son. MNRI works! It has been the key to unlocking our son. A year ago our son was in crisis. Now he is thriving. We have watched not only his speech blossom but also his personality, his creative play, and his sense of humor. I can't thank the team enough for teaching me MNRI so that I can help our son.
The best treatment my son could have. The results are impressive. A very dedicated team and interested in helping the whole family. The best support I could have had. I am so grateful to have had them as a team to help my son. The best staff ever!
Brainchild was a huge answer to prayer for us. Our 10 yo son (who was 9 when he started therapy) was struggling academically. Over the years, we had discovered that dietary changes and certain ‘crossing the mid-line’ exercises helped immensely, but we knew that something was still ‘off’; additionally, our son suffered from chronic neck and shoulder pain. He now has no pain and has made huge jumps academically. Sound booth work and MNRI therapy were exactly what our son needed. Thank you!
My son is diagnosed with Fragile X And I took him to Dr Light for MNRI. It was an amazing experience. The staff was extremely helpful. They explain every technique of MNRI to the parents. It was our first experience with MNRI therapy and was fully satisfied with it. Thank you to Dr Light and Brainchild institute members.
Dr Light has the in depth knowledge to treat with MNRI techniques. Her staff is very helpful and well trained. My son who has autism and expressive aphasia saw her this year and made tremendous improvement in the last few months . Dr Light worked with his fears and anxieties and made the therapy work for him. Thank you very much for all the help!
What a breath of fresh air! Dr. Light has a very comprehensive understanding and approach to treatment. My son was born with perinatal asphyxia at full term vaginal birth. We took him to Dr. Light to evaluate his primitive reflexes with MNRI therapy. Dr. Light took her time to give him a comprehensive evaluation and explained in detail each step and the necessary exercises that we can perform at home. We are so blessed to have met her and thankful for her care, attention to detail and expertise.
I have no words to express the gratitude I have for Dr. Light and her amazing team, especially Miss Mandy. After an intensive 6 weeks of MNRI, we saw results right away. My son is more loving and looks right at me when I call his name! Now he makes eye contact with everyone, even strangers. He seems interested in every detail about his surroundings. His balance improved and is more secure and able to do things on his own. He finally started to babble. He is a much happier boy who is blossoming.
My son just had intensive course of MNRI. It was really helpful . We see the results and really happy . Dr. Light and her team did a great job ! They all are extremely competent and pleasant people. I would definitely recommend Dr. Light to anybody who is looking for help with their kids . She knows how to help them.
We our bless that our twin sons can do therapy at the Brainchild Institute . Dr. Light and her team are very dedicated, caring, professional and our willing to go that extra mile for each of her patients to feel special, which makes the difference between all of the other therapies we have assisted . We are delighted with the results of the MNRI Therapy on our Twins. 100% Recommended!
After searching for answers as to why my son was having difficulty reading as well as some behavioral issues, I finally found not only answers to my questions, but more importantly, solutions at Brainchild Institute. Dr. Light and her amazing staff have patiently and kindly walked me and my son through the dark and into the light. He is now reading and feeling successful which has changed his entire self esteem. I cannot say enough positive things about Brainchild Institute. BEST. PLACE. EVER!!
Dr. Light's office in Hollywood / Fort Lauderdale is extremely professional, caring and supportive to the child and the family. We have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Light and her exceptional staff for over a year. We have had and continue to have amazing progress. The programs are very beneficial. Dr. Light and her staff go above and beyond to help each child that they work with. I would definitely recommend Dr. Light and her staff.
We had the opportunity to meet the BrainChild team at a conference in Colombia and we decided to travel immediately to Florida. In the first session of therapies we observed changes immediately, we were completely surprised. Every day that we do home session, my wife and I said…. amazing how he have changed. Our son's improvement has been exponential. In life, God puts on our path “angels", we thank our Lord for Dr. Light, Dania, who help us on translation to spanish, and the entire BrainChild team. God bless you forever. Never stop fighting for our children with special conditions, you made a exceptional good job”.Francisco & Habiba.
Dr Light is truly amazing! She is passionate about helping kids to be able to function in school and I am so grateful to have found her. Both of my children had Auditory and Visual Processing disorders. They began falling behind in school and teachers thought it was ADD with my daughter and ADHD with my son. My son could not read, write, spell or comprehend in 3rd grade, yet he was super smart. My daughter could not follow instruction or what the teachers or coaches were telling her and was too embarrassed to raise her hand. Both children felt like they were stupid and hated going to school. In the end we had to home school as my daughter cried everyday and my son was getting panic attacks at the thought of going to school. He was so embarrassed that he could not do his work in class like everyone else. After treatment with Dr Light, both kids can hear the words clearly and are getting 100% in all spelling tests! Bravo to Dr Light, her fabulous assistant Sara Speed and team!
Our experience with Brainchild started with a lot of research on Dr. Light and her methods. At our first meeting, we were immediately put at ease with the depth of knowledge and attentiveness to our child’s specific needs vs. generalizing it. They initiated a 3 month program this summer led by Ms Sarah. The changes in our son have been stark, and the improvement in speech, focus, inter-personal play and pretend-play gave us tremendous hope for his future. We are EXTREMELY grateful to Dr. Light and Ms. Sarah. The entire team at Brainchild is exceptional!
Dr. Light has been working with my son, on and off, since he was 9. Finding her was one of the greatest things that ever happened to our family. Dr. Light and her gifted staff have been able to help him with his delayed motor skills, processing speed and auditory processing. She has been able to guide us to other services and medical treatments to further help him. His academic performance increased. His ability to attend to challenging tasks increased. His ability to relate in social situations increased. Everything she does is filled with love and grace. Her level of understanding for what we were going through as parents helped us to build a plan that ultimately has had a huge positive impact on, not only our sweet boy, but on our whole family. I highly recommend Dr. Light and the BRAINCHILD INST to people in Fort Lauderdale and throughout South Florida. I do it all the time.
Dr Light's expertise as an MNRI Consultant was invaluable to us. She recommended techniques which dealt with issues we had with our child. Her team of caring, knowledgeable professionals were a pleasure to work with and an amazing support for our entire family. We are so grateful for Brainchild Institute in Hollywood, Florida!
I have a 4 year old son with an auditory processing disorder, he was in speech and OT therapy for a year without much improvement. When we started with Dr Light he spoke a few words, every child is different, but after the first week of therapy we started to see the improvement. His behavior, speech, understanding, everything is so much better, the change in my son is incredible. I can’t recommend Dr Light and her team enough, my baby is another boy. How I wish more families would know about The Brainchild Institute and how they can help their children!
Dr. Light and her team in Hollywood / Fort Lauderdale are experienced, warm, accurate, and very professional. We’ve seen our child thrive significantly since we started treatment 1.5 months ago .We had years of OT with little improvement. We live overseas and we have been able to do long distance follow-up. We are beyond grateful and looking forward to keep working together.
I was going through Andrew's file since we are changing his family doctor and saw all the tests done by Dr. Light. It made me remember how fortunate we are for having found the Brainchild Institute, Dr. Light, and her caring team.Andrew has come quite far with his hypersensitivity to sounds, and he now tolerates having his hair cut with an electric razor and the vacuum cleaner noise.He learned to ride his bicycle without training wheels this year, and he finally got his puppy, Pepi.We hope that you are all doing well. You certainly have a place in our hearts because you touched our lives and made them better.With Kind Regards,Ana, Andrew, & Jose