Auditory Processing Disorder

Shelley Beard Santore said: Feb 29, 2012
Shelley Beard Santore
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Lansdowne, PA
4 posts

Does anyone out there have experience working with students with APD (CAPD)? Looking for suggestions.

Jodi LaChance said: May 10, 2012
 Violin, Suzuki in the Schools
4 posts

Hi Shelley,
What age is the student and how did you find out they have APD? What are you noticing in working with them? Any specific challenges?

Jodi LaChance, Ed.S., NCSP

Laura said: May 12, 2012
Suzuki Association Member
Stanton, MN
25 posts

Auditory Processing Disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition. If you are unfamiliar with this, some reading on sensory processing disorder, ADHD and Autism would be really helpful for you. You want to make sure that this is a term that the parent has shared with you and it is an official diagnosis before you use this term regarding your student. Think of this condition as an interference in the process of taking in sound that the child hears, and being able to understand the sound, retain the memory of it, and express the sound in some way (auditory, on violin, etc). The good news is that with practice, the brain can build these connections. The downside is that what might take one child a short time to learn, may take this child much longer. Think repetition, repetition, repetition. Core strength issues, posture, muscle tension, etc is commonly co-occurring with these types of neurodevelopmental difficulties. This may interfere with technical teaching of violin hold, etc. If so, a referral to a sensory integration therapist or a certified Handle Therapist ( may be very helpful. The best scenario for teaching an APD student violin is in combination with their doing therapy to address this disorder. The two can support each other wonderfully. It is also wise for a child with this condition to have a good medical examination. Food allergies, autoimmune conditions, thyroid disorder, etc, are often intertwined in these issues. Many doctors don’t understand these conditions. A good Dr. of Integrative Medicine who is an MD should. The child who is not diagnosed with this disorder but shows strong signs of it, whose parent is in denial about it, and the child who is getting no support for it, will have a lot of challenges learning the violin and needs a very patient, honest teacher with good communication skills and knows limits for what issues can and cannot be address in violin lessons.

Hope this helps.

Carolina said: May 13, 2012
Carolina Folmer
Suzuki Association Member
Berlin, Germany
1 posts

Thank you for your posts, this is also helpful for me too, I have a student in guitar who has discontinued lessons because of SPD, they will be coming back a little later on, but I still need to improve my knowledge of the condition to help them better. This is very useful, thanks.

Diane said: May 14, 2012
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

I went through this with my son. We had to go through an occupational therapist to get a copy of The Listening Program. Within 4 days of using the program my son came up to me and said “Mommy—things don’t sound muffled anymore!”

Since I’m a violin teacher I convinced the OT to let me purchase a copy of the program through her ($300). It’s a set of cd’s that students listen to for 15 minutes daily. Different frequencies are systematically withdrawn and reintroduced. Some of the sounds are “in front” “behind” “off to the side” of you so you can connect with spacial listening.

My son had immediate and permanent results. Since I’ve lent it out to students from time to time. One girl had a lot of ear infections as a baby and missed a lot of ear/brain connectiions that were built through using The Listening Program.

I love living in this day and age. There are so many things out there that are of help!

Smiles! Diane

Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Laura Burgess said: Apr 2, 2015
Laura Burgess
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
32 posts

I am wondering if anyone has insights into teaching shifting to an advanced high functioning student on the autism spectrum. Sensory issues are preventing my student from trying a stable thumb position in the upper positions, making high notes unpredictable despite being very auditory and having great pitch. I need to build a bridge for him to the technique he needs.

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