My friend, John, is successful by all accounts. He's happily married, makes decent money, and has lasting friendships.
It hasn't always been that way. John's worked hard to make a life for himself. You see, he struggles with dyslexia and auditory processing problems. Recently, he emailed me asking for help. Of course, I sent some activities over to him. Hey, I'm always willing to help someone who wants to help himself.
But his email made me sit up and wonder how John has performed as well as he has in life. I could only think, "How exhausting this must be!"
I know all too well that people with auditory processing problems have a difficult time with relationships. It's so hard to communicate, that these people usually end up being introverts, coiling away from relationships like poisonous snakes.
That's why it's so important to catch this problem when you're young. John's in his 50's. He came from a generation where learning disabilities were swept under the rug. He's told me stories of his desperate years, of armed robbery and doing time in jail.
When I tell parents that 48% of the prison population in America is dyslexic, I speak the truth. And I speak for John. Believe me, he'd do anything to help anyone NOT travel in his footsteps.
Following is how John describes his auditory processing disorder. If you see any of this in yourself or your child, please know there's help for this and to get it sooner rather than later.
John would tell you that himself if he could! But for now, just step into his shoes for a few seconds...
"It truly does help knowing there’s a real reason why I have issues. I find that with the people I talk to on a regular basis, I have a much easier time understanding what they are saying. Probably because I get used to the certain tones or mannerisms when they say certain things.
I mainly have issues when there’s any background noise going on. I noticed the older I get the more difficult it becomes.
I guess the hardest thing for me is I also get anxiety and I guess you would say mine are little panic attacks. If there is more than one person trying to talk to me at the same time, my brain just shuts down and I go into panic mode.
When that happens, I can’t seem to find my words. I just either freeze up or I get angry.
It’s interesting to me how different tones really affect me. I think I mentioned to you before how I can’t listen to any music that has any repetitive words. If it goes through the chorus a few times that’s fine but if they were to be saying the same word or sentence over and over and over it would just send me over the roof."