Sorry. Could You Repeat That?

My struggles with Auditory Processing Disorder


A woman holding a clipboard with a list of words and some handwritten notes on it says, “Okay, Randi. Can you say Animal?”


The young girl smiles as she confidently says, “Aminal!”


The woman smiles down at the girl, excuses herself and leaves the room while the girl plays with blocks. She approaches the parents of the young girl and states; she is very intelligent but the Auditory Processing Disorder will cause issues; some self-esteem but mostly learning.


I was diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder when my parents realized I couldn’t pronounce words right.


It is what it sounds like; it’s a processing disorder that has to do with how I hear words. The weird part is it’s not a hearing issue, but a brain interrupting issue.

My hearing tests are normal; I can hear tones and noises fine.


APD affects 2-7% of children in the United States, which is unique.


But many people wonder, why have I never heard of this before?


Here’s why: there’s no medication. There is nothing you can take as a medication to help with this disorder.


So how did you get better?

Well, what one does when they have this disorder, they go to speech and language sessions.


So similar to how schools have an A day or B day schedule so you know what day you have a gym, I went to “speech.” I loved speech therapy!


My teachers were so nice and I got to play fun games.


There was this website when I was in middle school called Earobics; I asked to play it every time I went to speech. I also had an FM system.


How that worked is my teacher wore a special necklace piece that had a microphone hanging from it and I wore a hearing aid.


Which was cool because it made everything so much louder, plus I got to pick the color and I picked Tie Dye.


I did speech from kindergarten to 11th grade — the FM system I used from the 1st to 8th grade.


I hated this disability as a child.


Imagine being a young small child, now imagine having someone ask you to say Piano. You say the word and they look down at you and say Piano again. So you repeat the word again and they say no and then say Pe-an-o in that drawn-out way.


Now you are angry and confused because you are sure you are saying the right word and you are being told no, so now you feel stupid. Little does one know and understand that one is saying Pano instead of Piano.


I struggle with words that rhyme (mat, cat, bat, rat, etc.)


Sometimes words that aren’t spelled the same I will confuse me (pear and hair.)


M and N will be the end of me though.


The fun part about APD is buffering. The long-extended time where I am trying to figure out what was just said to me.


I hate the way people make fun of my disability like this is some joke or I’m doing it on purpose.


I have had people say the word I have misinterpret and then misspoke. Because that’s how this whole thing works, the word that comes out of my mouth and the way I pronounce it is how my brain is telling me.


I will avoid using certain words because I know. I know that I pronounce them wrong and I hate when anyone comments on it.


From testing, they concurred that my left ear was better than my right ear for hearing words and other things. Also that I was a visual learner, seeing things helped me be able to attach words to an image.


A doctor wrote on my progress notes, “Learning disabilities, especially language with good academic potential.”


I was intelligent, and I had the potential, but I just had some hurdles to jump.


Whatever god you believe in that made me must have realized I would be too powerful and had to make it harder for me, but here I am.


A warrior!


They told me that reading and writing would be a struggle of mine. But look at where I am now!