Learning Disorders and Home Schooling: Central Auditory Processing Disorder
by David Weathers
Nothing is more alarming to a parent that to learn that something is “wrong” with your child, whether it is mental or physical.
In October of 1999, my wife, Patty, and I concluded that our (then) five-year-old son Darren, still wasn’t speaking clearly. He still talked in baby talk gibberish. We discussed it with our pediatrician and he referred us to an audiologist. Shortly thereafter, she diagnosed him as having central auditory processing disorder.
In a nutshell, our boy, Darren, doesn’t understand information the way most children or adults do. It gets kinda mixed up between his ears and his brain. It was determined that when he was a toddler, and had a series of ear infections, he missed out on a crucial period in which language imprinting normally occurs. So, he didn’t develop language skills when other kids did.
Some of his symptoms included: sensitivity to loud noises, difficulty following directions, difficulty speaking and reading, trouble understanding abstract ideas; and he had a hard time following conversation as well as having others understand him.
The good news was, we caught it and sought out a specialist, who diagnosed it – and, most important of all, he has made progress.
As home school parents, we have to know when we are in over our heads and when to seek help. It wasn’t easy for us, there was some pressure to send him to a public school speech program, but we resisted (the whole point of home schooling, for us, was to avoid the institutionalization of traditional schools.) Despite skepticism, even now, we see his progress and know that we made the right decision.
We’ve discovered a lot of resources that are available to parents. One such resource is an an organization called NATHHAN (for NATional cHallenged Home-schoolers Associated Network.) We joined it and can now rent material to help with teaching our son. The web also offers tons of other resources and ideas to help parents who face challenges. There is a myriad of books and software and manuals. A little research can uncover a lot of tools to help you and your youngster.
So, don’t give up, if you have a child that has learning problems, it doesn’t mean you can’t home school him. You CAN educate a challenged child. Probably, much better than a beleaguered school speech therapist who has several pupils to deal with and not enough funding for adequate materials. He or she is your child; your responsibility to raise and educate. Don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way.