“My child is taking medicine for ADD, but I really don’t see any difference in him.” “Since beginning medicine for ADHD, my daughter has become very moody and still has problems focusing on what she needs to do.” These are but a few of the comments that can be heard from a parent whose child has been misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit – Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) rather then with the appropriate diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).
In some limited situations, both disorders do coexist.
Although symptoms for both ADD/ADHD and APD can mirror each other, the causation and treatment are generally much different.
It is believed that ADD/ADHD is genetic and biological in causation. In this disorder, the brain of the affected person does not secrete the proper amounts of a neurotransmitter known as Dopamine. Other causations relate to the brains ability to effectively use the dopamine secreted.
The most commonly prescribed treatment for ADD/ADHD is the use of a stimulate drug designed to generate more production of Dopamine, still others benefit from drugs which boost the effectiveness of dopamine. Thus it is most widely agreed that ADD/ADHD relate to chemical imbalances or deficits in the brain.
On the other hand, APD occurs when the information that one hears does not get correctly processed and coordinated in the brain. Several known causes for APD are lead poisoning, traumatic brain injury, or frequent ear infections during the first two years of a child’s life.
Behaviors or symptoms that can be found in either ADD/ADHD or APD, include but are not limited to, easily distracted, difficulty in following directions, disorganized and forgetful, poor listening skills, poor academic performance, displays behavior problems, and loses things.
Treatment recommendations for these disorders may be very different; correct diagnosis is imperative for the outcomes and benefits for individual children. Before beginning treatment for ADD/ADHD, an evaluation by a Speech/Language Pathologist or Audiologist who is experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of APD may be valid and beneficial.