JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Auditory Processing Disorder is a condition that affects the brain's ability to process sound accurately. It is also frequently misdiagnosed in school children, yet, 43 percent of children with learning disabilities have a form of auditory processing disorder.
Eleven-year-old Graham Storey has been using a listening device for the past two years. But until his diagnosis, his Pediatrician mom, Dr. Joanna Storey, was baffled.
"We weren't really sure where to turn next," said Dr. Storey, "But a special education teacher at school recommended we get him tested for Auditory Processing Disorder.
Educational Audiologist Alicia Swann, at the Auditory Processing Center in Clinton, said the disorder is a hidden learning disability.
"It affects one in 20 children in school," she said. "That's one in five children."
Swann said parents might recognize some symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder as early as three or four years old.
"Asking for things to be repeated, or saying huh or what a lot," said Swan, describing some of the symptoms. "They will frequently mishear information and have trouble remembering what they hear."
Swann said Auditory Processing Disorder is often misdiagnosed, as an Attention Deficit Disorder because the symptoms are easily confused.
"Most of these children have normal intelligence, and they will pass a hearing test," said Swann.
Graham is out of routine treatment now and performing well in the classroom, but he will need to continue managing it. Dr. Storey highlights her son's daily routine at school.
"The teacher wears a microphone, and the sound from her voice goes directly into the listening devices in his ears," said Dr. Storey.
As a pediatrician, Dr. Storey said it has expanded her ability to help her patients and their parents.
"It's been helpful to me just to help in my understanding of the disorder," she said.
Most of the time, Auditory Processing Disorder is a lifetime condition, but Swann said people with the disorder can improve their skills.