Perceptual Disorders In Children: What It’s All About

You speak, but your child does not listen. You have given instruction, but it is forgotten as soon as you leave the room. This is not disobedience, but often a weakness in perception.

Everything you need to know about perceptual disorders in children, you will learn in this article.

Auditory Perception Disorders – Many Children Suffer From Them Unnoticed

Your child fidgets constantly, can’t sit still and doesn’t listen at all. Many parents interpret this action as disobedience or a consequence of lack of movement. It is also not uncommon for an under challenge to be brought up as an excuse and justification for the inner restlessness.

But in reality, perceptual disorders are the reason why your child has difficulty concentrating and practically cannot sit still and occupy himself alone at all. What children perceive and what influence perception has on their central nervous processes is not so extensively known to most parents.

Perceptual disorders, especially in the auditory perception of signals and their processing, are often not recognized in young children. Only when problems arise at school is the subject really taken seriously.

The Development Of Perception

Even babies and toddlers can perceive auditorily. They can hear, learn to speak and watch you attentively. As your child grows, their ability to perceive will continue to develop, as long as your child does not suffer from perceptual disorders.

AWS, as the auditory perception disorder is called in technical language, is not uncommon. However, the diagnosis is usually not made until the child reaches elementary school age, because parents only notice a clear developmental delay at this time. Perception is composed of the following processes:

  • Bottom-up.
  • Top-down.
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It counts as a whole and already begins in the inner ear. The recording of sounds and tones, the development of speech and phonological awareness are subordinate to the development of perception. If disturbances occur here, one speaks of perception disturbances – explicitly of an auditory perception disturbance.

The Function Of Perception (Auditory)

Basically, the function is based on the complete reception and processing of all signals and sounds. The distinction of tones and pitches, a sensation for loudness as well as sound discrimination are essential perceptual functions.

Do you have to speak loudly to be understood. Or does your child have difficulty matching and processing the voices of different people? Then this can be a sign of auditory perception disorders. Partial limitations are difficult to recognize because especially small children cannot explain what they perceive and what they miss.

Does My Child Suffer From Perceptual Disorders?

This is the question parents face when they notice differences in speech development, in the assignment and localization of sounds or sensitivity to sounds. Overhearing what is said and a preference for visual representations can also be an indication of perceptual disorders. Below you will learn about the most important symptoms.

Symptoms Of An Auditory Perception Disorder

The child turns the sound on the television very loud or very soft. At louder sounds, he or she covers his or her ears as if the sound causes pain. Fast spoken sentences are not or only partially understood and if there is background noise, your child does not seem to perceive you at all.

At a later age, reluctance to use the telephone can be another symptom of impaired perception. In the toddler age you can usually not yet detect a real everyday impairment and will therefore usually not recognize perceptual disorders.

This changes in elementary school age, where a developmental delay in speech and learning becomes apparent. An auditory perception disorder does not limit the quality of life, as long as you are aware of it and as long as you talk openly with your child.

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Marginal Perceptual Disorders Are Usually Not Recognized Until Elementary School Age

At school your child does not sit still and the teacher asks you if he or she has enough movement and distraction from the school routine at home. The child has major problems with writing, reading and arithmetic and does not seem to understand the tasks.

Whether or not there is a hearing disorder can already be seen in the screening examinations at the pediatrician. If this is not the case and the child has difficulty perceiving things aurally, the problem will be based in auditory perception disorders.

Mostly, the symptom picture concerns the linguistic development and the reading ability. If a child brings home poor grades in German, this could be due to problems in perception and indicate an auditory perception disorder. Forgetfulness in childhood can also underline the symptoms and be a further indication of problems in auditory perception.

Recognition Of Disorders Through Differential Diagnosis

As a parent, you cannot and should not dabble in diagnostics. In a comprehensive differential diagnosis, perceptual disorders can be identified and subsequently treated.

The development of speech, attention and behavior are included in the diagnosis and must be taken into account. A concrete, generally valid test does not yet exist at the present time.

Today, the detection of perceptual disorders is possible in children from the age of 6 and builds on a previous hearing test to exclude hearing impairment.

Perceptual Disorders Rarely Occur Alone

Most affected children tend to suffer from restlessness, forgetfulness and inattention in addition to perceptual disorders. In this case, ADHD is quickly mentioned, as this diagnosis has already become a buzzword. But you should know that perception disorders and ADHD are difficult to distinguish and often go hand in hand.

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ADHD Usually Occurs With Perceptual Disorders In Combination

Fidgetiness, inattention and the lack of listening skills become a bigger problem at the latest in school. If solving tasks becomes a test of anger and impatience takes possession of your child, this could actually indicate a disorder in attention.

  • Lack of concentration.
  • Carelessness.
  • and scatterbrainedness.

are the interface between perceptual disorders and ADHD.

Writing And Reading Difficulties As An Accompanying Symptom

Problems in the production and processing of texts can also indicate an auditory perception disorder. This is because the child has difficulty understanding speech and even more difficulty reproducing it.

Reading a book becomes a test of patience and writing a dictation always leads to a bad grade. This does not mean that your child lacks intelligence. But perceptual disorders mean that the understanding of language without visualization is often not given and problems already arise when it comes to recording several syllables.

Perception creates a smooth transition to language comprehension, which in turn is the prerequisite for writing and reading. You cannot help your child with tutoring. Medical diagnostics and therapy to train perception, on the other hand, will solve the problem.

Learning And Performance Deficits Can Be Based On Problems With Auditory Perception

Why is my child doing badly at school? Yet he or she is so intelligent and creative. These are the thoughts of parents who rule out perceptual disorders and look for other reasons for poor performance.

Auditory perception disorder is the main reason for inadequate school grades, since knowledge-based learning is based on the gift of listening and processing what is said. It is not uncommon for learning and attention difficulties to be accompanied by problems in behavior.

This is because perception also affects emotional development and can be a reason if your child fights frequently or if he or she withdraws in the schoolyard and does little with other children. Not all children like school.

But if a child is reluctant to go to school, you should not dismiss this message as laziness and unwillingness, but go intensively into the causes. Perceptual disorders and the associated limitations can also reduce motivation for school and produce this phenomenon.

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Inattention And Restlessness: Symptoms Of Perceptual Disorders

There is a whole range of scientific dissertations on auditory perception. However, the end of the line has not yet been reached, as new findings and connections are constantly emerging around perception.

What is known and a fact in the meantime is that lack of attention and general restlessness in children do not necessarily have to be a symptom of ADHD. A disorder in perception causes the same symptoms, as the lack of understanding of words leads to boredom and thus inattention.

What To Do If The Child Has Problems With Attention?

You, as a mother, cannot help with perceptual disorders and should not try to play the role of a doctor. Do not self-diagnose, but get medical help to find out if your child really has a problem with perception or if the symptoms are based on something else.

Perceptual disorders are more common than you think. However, it is important that this diagnosis does not become a fad like ADHD and is used almost inflationarily. In a differential diagnosis, under observation of all abilities of your child and in detailed subjective discussions, a doctor will find out whether and to what extent your child can perceive and process things auditorily.

Conclusion: Recognizing Perceptual Disorders And Providing Assistance

The basis of a treatment is that you are able to perceive the problem yourself. Be attentive to your child and you will see that you are much more likely to notice problems.

If you go to the doctor now, he can help and will already investigate in the right direction based on your words. Why is ADHD often diagnosed? Because parents don’t know any better and don’t perceive their child as it really is.

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