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Auditory processing

Shelly Bower bower at ma.ultranet.com
Thu Dec 5 17:16:11 EST 1996

I am hoping for some suggestions from you all

I have a son (age 3.5) that has a severe expressive/receptive
communication disorder.  As a brief history, when he turned two we
took him to an audiologist because his speech was delayed and because
he had very uneven reactions to sound.  For example, a new soft noise
behind him would cause him to turn around but a fire alarm going off
wouldn't produce even a startle reaction.    Anyway,  based on a
hearing exam  the audiologist said he had at least a 40% hearing loss
but given his age and the difficulties in doing the exam they sent us
off to get a BAER test done.  The brainstem response test showed
normal hearing.

He is now 3.5 and his language has come a long way but its obvious at
this point that auditory processing problems are hindering further
gains.  He can't differentiate between sentences like "How are you?"
and "How old are you?".  I know he knows his colors cold,  but if
asked out of the blue "what color is it?,  he often can't answer , I
don't think he can "decifer"  the question.  If I give the answer once
and keep asking the same question about different objects in the room
he'll get them all right...Is this making sense?  His pediatrician has
ruled out auditory processing delays because he can echo words or
answer questions he knows immediately.  However, I still feel there is
a definitely something going on with the auditory process.

Here are the questions I have, answers to any of them would be greatly

Can an auditory processing deficit be diagnosed from a test that
doesn't rely on the patient having language or being able to respond
to questions? Are there any other tests that I should consider having

I've heard about a Doctor named Gerry Stefanatos (at Jefferson
Hospital ?) that does something called an Evoked Potentials Test.
Does anyone know what this is?  Supposedly the BAER measyres fom the
ear to the brainstem and this test measures from the brainstenm to the

Has anyone heard the term "hearing dyslexic" and what is it? Are there
treatments for it.

Assuming I can get a diagnosis of auditory processing deficit....how
does it help?  Are there treatments (drug or otherwise)?   Other than
speech therapy,  no one seems to have any ideas or even much of a

Has anyone researched the idea that smart drugs (like Piracetam) can
improve auditory processing.  Are these drugs safe with kids?

I'm dying to help my little guy and can't shake the feeling that if I
could improve his auditory processing that his language learning
diffculties would be reduced.  Any ideas?  Web sites?  New research?


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