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Processing Deficits

The following are past questions and answers from Dr. Larry Silver on this topic.

Can ADHD meds help with an auditory processing disorder?

My fifth-grade son failed two subtests for auditory processing. I do not know if we are dealing with ADHD. We have tried ADHD meds and he says that he can hear the teacher better.

Is there any evidence to indicate that ADHD meds would impact auditory processing? Everything I've read seems to indicate no, but he insists that is the one difference for him.

You ask good questions; however, I cannot be specific. You need to sit down with the person who diagnosed him with an auditory processing problem and ask these questions. Usually, such an area of difficulty would interfere with reading skills and writing skills (e.g., spelling).

There are other questions to ask this person. What two tests did he fail and what does this mean? Did you do any other studies to see if he has areas of learning difficulty? Push to get clarification.

My son has an auditory processing disorder and is struggling but the school is only offering a 504 plan. What can I do?

My son is 12 and has been diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder. He has a hard time comprehending the material in school. I'm told he doesn't focus or engage in asking questions. I wonder if he has ADHD, although the doctor said he only has an auditory processing disorder.

What can I do to help him in school? He can't retain the information and the workload is too much. I'm not getting any help from the school. My son is a good kid who tries extremely hard. I don't want him to give up. He is extremely nervous giving a presentation or performing in front of people to the point that he hunches over and starts crying. Please help me! The school would not give him an IEP. They recently said they may consider a 504.

My first question: Who diagnosed him with an auditory processing disorder? This person should be advising you. Such a disorder often causes learning disabilities. Was he evaluated for this? If not, this needs to be done. Where are his skills in reading, writing, math, and organization? What you describe does not sound like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

I support your not accepting a 504 Plan. This plan would provide accommodations but not remedial services. You need to be assertive about wanting a full assessment leading to an IEP. Under an IEP, he should get both accommodations and services. Maybe you need a special education consultant to advise you on your rights under the education law and how to approach your school.

(If you want to read more on this, look in my book, The Misunderstood Child, Fourth Edition, published by Random House/Three Rivers Press.)

Good luck. Don't give up. If all of the above fail, e-mail back.

What is the relationship between Auditory Processing Disorder and ADD?

My fourteen-year-old son has ADD and APD. He’s currently on medication, but does not seem to help. Could the APD keep the medication from working?



The Auditory Processing Disorder will not interfere with the medications used for ADHD (ADD). The question is whether what is seen as inattention is truly ADHD (ADD) or a reflection of his Auditory Processing Disorder. If it is the latter, medication will not help. Speech-language therapy will.

How can I help an ADHD child with "sluggish cognitive tempo?"

After extensive testing by various places, my son has been diagnosed by a psychologist with ADHD-PI and sluggish cognitive tempo. He has just started taking band and playing the flute. Band is held at the end of the day when the other students have a study hall. As expected, he is having difficulty finishing tasks and tests in class.

The teachers want me to withdraw him from band to give him extra time to finish these things. He wants to continue band. He does not have an IEP yet. I am waiting for the written report from the psychologist to schedule an appointment with the counselor. The school tells me that with ADHD he does not qualify for additional resources.

Is sluggish cognitive tempo considered a learning disability? Will the diagnosis qualify him for additional resources, such as a resource teacher or just an IEP? Should I withdraw him from band and make him concentrate on academics or should I insist that the school make other accommodations to allow him to finish his unfinished assignments?

It appears that the school has done formal testing, called psycho-educational testing. These data should clarify why he has “sluggish cognitive tempo.” The most frequent causes are weaknesses in what is called processing speed or in what is called working memory. If these are the reasons, targeted special education tutoring should help.

You are correct — ADHD is not a disability under education law, thus, an IEP will not be done. ADHD can be considered under what is called a “504 Plan” and would include some assistance, such as the study hall.

Your options: You might let him stay in the band and provide a private special education tutor to work on his areas of difficulty. If formal psycho-educational testing has not been done, you might request that the school do these studies (or have them done privately).