DLD, APD, Dyslexia…what does it all mean?

One of our mums (Marianne) has gone the extra mile to find out what these terms mean. Her son Sean was diagnosed with DLD (Developmental Language Disorder), and not satisfied with relying on others for help, Marianne has enrolled on a post graduate training course for professionals in Specific Learning Difficulties. And as if that wasn’t dedicated enough, she has plans to start a support group in Ireland for other parents of children with DLD – please ask The Speech Centre for her contact details.

As part of her learning, Marianne has written a very clear summary of the differences between Auditory Processing Disorder, Speech and Language Disorder, and Dyslexia, and we are delighted to help her share it with other parents!

“Auditory processing disorders are deficits in the information processing of audible signals not attributed to impaired peripheral hearing sensitivity or intellectual impairment. Speech and language disorders are impairments in the ability to receive, send, process, and comprehend concepts or verbal, nonverbal and graphic systems. A reading disorder is a learning disorder that involves significant impairment of reading accuracy, speed, or comprehension. The principal differences are as follows;

Each of the disorders are diagnosed by different professionals. Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is diagnosed by an audiologist, speech and language disorders are diagnosed by speech and language therapists and reading disorders are diagnosed by educational psychologists. 

People with a speech and language disorder have trouble understanding and making sense of the words that they hear and have difficulty processing and manipulating language, whereas people with an APD have difficulties hearing the differences between sounds in words and do not correctly process what they hear.

The main difference between APD and reading disorders (Dyslexia) is that people with APD have difficulty understanding information presented verbally, whereas people with reading disorders’ main source of difficulty is spelling, reading and understanding information presented in print. Also, background noise effects people with APD and does not affect people with Dyslexia.

The main difference between speech and language disorders and reading disorders is that speech and language disorders are characterized by significant oral language problems, and reading disorders are not. Poor reading comprehension is the result of poor decoding in reading disorders, while it is the result of poor language skills in people with language disorders. Not all people with speech and language disorders develop reading disorders.

It is also important to note that all of these difficulties can co-occur.”


Really enjoyed talking to Today FM about running my business!

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