Elena Ballezzi, Au.D. is an expert at identifying and developing treatment plans for children with auditory processing disorder.
While there may not be anything wrong with their hearing, some young children find it very difficult to take in verbal information – registering what people are saying and remembering what was said.
What is Auditory Processing Disorder?
Auditory Processing Disorder (ADP), which affects 5 percent of school-aged children, is a condition where children can’t process what they hear because their ears and their brain are not fully coordinating.
“APD tremendously affects a child’s social development and academic performance, especially their reading and writing skills, because the child usually has trouble localizing sounds, understanding language with any background noise in the environment, following directions and paying attention. They also often have incorrect responses to auditory information,” says Elena Ballezzi, Au.D. director of Bacharach’s Somers Point Hearing Center.
How Do You Identify Auditory Processing Disorder?
When a child who is suspected of having APD is brought to Bacharach, Elena performs several evaluations to determine how the brain is processing the sounds the child hears and how the left and right brain are communicating with each other.
“We rely heavily on the child’s parents during this process. Their knowledge of their child’s case history and their observations really help us determine the child’s need,” says Elena.
Once a child is diagnosed with APD, Elena works with the family and the child’s school to develop a treatment plan, which consists of home exercises, school therapy plans, tutoring and speech-language therapy.
“As a group, we work together to find the best path forward for the child,” says Elena. “We determine what skills they need improvement on, what modifications we can make to give the child a better learning environment and what strategies to provide the child to help them improve their academic performance.”
Elena will continue to check in with the child every two years to ensure that the therapy plan is working. “Most children grow out of APD as their brain matures and because the exercises they do strengthen their listening and decoding skills,” she says.
To learn more about APD or to schedule an appointment at the Hearing Center, please call 609-601-8590.