We help people understand what they hear easily through systematic auditory training.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) can feel like such a large, looming difficulty which brings many professionals, school teachers, parents, and even adults who experience it to a state of confusion and overwhelm.
Few people understand and really get it. There are so many people who need help, but there are few professionals who have chosen this as their life's work.
Hi, I'm Angela Alexander. I believe that APD affected my life through a series of memories/vignettes I will share with you.
I remember being teased on the playground by a classmate once when I confused the words "deaf" and "death"- I couldn't hear the difference between those two words!
I wondered if I was "dumb".
My 4th Grade Math teacher had a favourite activity: She had two of us line up next to each other and read out a calculation she wanted us to do quickly. The first student to answer correctly "stayed alive" and went on to challenge other students. I remember my legs shaking uncontrollably as my turn approached. As I stood next to Blaine, he would shout out the answer before I had even understood what she had said.
I wondered if I was "slow".
I remembered feeling lost and confused when I was in noisy environments and was constantly told that I needed to concentrate more.
I wondered if this was "all my fault."
In high school, I remember getting into trouble for not following instructions that I didn't remember hearing to begin with. My parents seemed irritated constantly and I felt confused.
I wondered if I had hearing loss.
I was a kid who wanted to please people, but I didn't know how to be good or normal in the way they wanted me to be. Looking back, I believe these difficulties made people (including me) question my intellect and my potential for doing great things in my future.
But, I continued on. I went to University, but I struggled to keep up with my professors and my notes were often disorganised and borderline nonsensical. I would understand what they had said for a moment but I couldn't seem to hold onto it long enough to write it down.
It almost felt pointless to go to lectures.
In fact, if the lecture was intense enough, I'd even find myself concentrating so hard that I would fall asleep. My classmates didn't seem to struggle with this like I did.
I wondered if something was inherently "wrong" with me.
And, finally, on one day in April 2004, I attended a lecture on auditory processing disorder by an amazing man named Dr. Jack Katz. He described how I felt on a daily basis - and also illustrated methods of therapy he used to help people overcome difficulties understanding what they heard.
That day changed my life forever.
I knew that this would be my life's work. At the time, I hadn't realized that this had resonated with me because of my own difficulties, rather, I recognized these troubles as something I had always known.
It was my "normal" and I thought everyone felt this way.
After Jack's lecture concluded, I went up to him immediately and asked if I could please start observing him in his clinic. I did this throughout my entire post graduate training in Audiology.
At this point I had come up with some compensatory strategies in order to be successful in school: I audio recorded every audio lecture and listened through them at least twice in order to rewrite my notes. This was energy intensive, but I knew that this was what I had to do to be successful- and to survive!
I sometimes forgot to bring a recording device along to class (this was before they were able to record from phones) and I would have to run to the store to purchase another dictaphone. If I didn't store it electronically, I feared that I wouldn't be able to remember what my professors had said.
One day, after watching Jack provide therapy for several months, I forgot my device and there was no time for me to go to the store and buy a new one. I was anxious- completely scared- that I wouldn't retain anything... but, to my surprise, I felt like the the teacher was making complete sense as she was talking. Suddenly, I felt like I could trust myself to ingest and retain the entire content of her lecture. While I had not received therapy directly, I was reaping secondhand benefits. And, even better, at the end of her lecture, I looked down and had coherent notes starring back up at me- and I still had mental energy for the rest of my day.
That's the day my love for the APD diagnosis changed to an obsession with APD therapy.
In 2008, I started my own private practice called Auditory Processing Network with the absolute goal to give others the gift that Jack had given me: the gift of listening with ease, comfort, and confidence through systematic auditory training.
Without this gift, I would not have finished my Doctor of Audiology program at the University of Kansas in order to become the professional I truly needed as a child to overcome these frustrating and, at times, soul-crushing difficulties. I've worked with hundreds of people over the past ten years and love watching their lives transform with this simple, yet effective therapy.
I've also started to notice that there is a different perspective that Jack taught me compared to how I see other schools of thought in APD:
It seems that his focus is less on a lifelong disorder and more toward methodical treatment to the specific difficulties an individual is having in order to make their lives better without the requirement of equipment/devices.
Devices such as FM systems (Remote Microphone Hearing Aids) are great for compensation and can have therapeutic effects, however if there is a way to help people understand without feeling dependent on technology- this would be wonderful!
My clients who depend most on ear level devices are the ones who live the furthest from me and my services. When their devices break down, there seems to be a state of panic- much like what I used to face when I forgot my recording devices.
I needed to find a way to connect with my patients who lived at a distance with the same, consistent level of care that I have given my clients who live locally. While I enjoy traveling to remote areas to diagnose people who are struggling with APD, it breaks my heart not to be able to give them the gift that Jack gave me.
I've tried therapy over Skype (and other, more secure sites), tried teaching the parents how to do this work on their own for their children, and currently have parents driving to my clinic weekly for sessions over a four month period (a 4 hour+ return trip). This work requires an intense level of commitment and, for most families, is not sustainable.
And so, I've started something different through this website: APDsupport.com. I guide clients through a process of auditory training to help people listen with ease, comfort, and confidence in the comfort of their own homes at a pace they set themselves in a way that is appropriate to where they are on their life's journey.
Are you ready to feel the relief I experienced? Are you the right fit for our program or are we the right fit for you?
Watch the video to see if we are compatible: