Differentiating APD from Autism

Parents of this generation has so many worries. More so than prior generations. This is because they have information overload from social media. Also people with too many opinions or know-it-alls. Those who have read something and thinks it applies to this child or that one. Alarmists, who thinks a slight delay or non-advancement of a child is a symptom. Off goes the parent to ask other parents, parent groups and social media. It is best to go to professionals, if you are really concerned. But until then, here are some tips differentiating APD from Autism. 

APD of Central Auditory Processing Disorder affects the ear – brain connection. There is a delay and disruption of the auditory information received by the ear that is delivered to the brain. People with APD have difficulty remembering sequences, lists and have issues with short term memory. They can interchange similar sounding words and have difficulty following oral directions.

Autism is broader and more complex. Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD have 3 main characteristics and different types including classic autism; Asperger’s Syndrome; and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). These types have common symptoms with different intensity and impact. 

First off, know that a child is expected to have less control of his speech, emotions and actions. Expect clumsiness, inability to express himself (tears, tantrums), inattentiveness. Toddlers have even been likened to an adult drunk as far as behaviour and coherency is concerned. Not every child progress at the same time. That is why those diagnosed with APD at an early age is suggested to be tested again in their pre-teen or teen years.


Differentiating APD from Autism will take a professional to be accurate. The symptoms of these disorders overlap in many ways. In many cases, autism and APD are found together. Speech delays and inability to focus or engage is found in both disorders. Some deduced that the delays in speech development of people with autism could be an auditory processing issue. The amplified effects of auditory hypersensitivity, may make the sufferers cover their ears or hum or react negatively when noise is present. 

Although symptoms overlap, it does not equate A = B. APD once correctly diagnosed, treatment and therapy can start It will take a battery of tests and several professionals to confirm. Therapy and treatments can also help improve autism symptoms and ability to function in time. ASD  screening is advised, the earlier, the better.