Dear Teacher

18 Apr

Hello all you wonferful readers, I’m back again despite some school homework I had to do, plus visiting some family in the city. I hope you are all ready for another blog post, but this one isn’t exactly a blog post, but rather a letter to all of my former teachers who thought I was ‘immature’, ‘dumb’ or just would never have throught that I would ever make anything of myself. It’s a letter that I would have sent to them while I was attending their classes if I could. In fact would have seriously gone back in time to a time when I was five and give myself multiple copies of this letter to give to my teachers, it would have helped me a great deal, so here it is:

Dear teacher, How are you today? This is from a student who suffers from APD (Auditory Processing Disorder), this means that I have trouble processing spoken language; I may not be able to process verbal information because my ear’s and brain’s don’t fully coordinate. It affects the way mu brain recognises and interprets sounds, especially the sounds of composing speech. Even when sounds are loud and clear, backgorund noise can interfere which is usually the natural listening environment, so in short, we have difficulty understanding speech signals presented in less than optimal conditions, but thankfully, you can get around this. For exmaple you might instruct “Ok, students, get out you Maths texts books, turn to page 34 and do the questions but don’t do questions 4 and 5”, I cannot process all of this, expecially if there are surrounding sounds such as classroom gossip, the air con or heater, doors opening and shutting all the time, sometimes even the birds can distract me.

OK I know what you are thinking; put me in a special class and give me different, easier work. Don’t do that as having APD has no indication of being ‘dumb’, I’m able to do the work, however you must change your old school ways of teaching and adapt to me a little; I’m not asking you to change the whole lesson plan, just teach me a little differently from the others and try change some of the environment around me;

Now, I understand that you are not Wonder Woman or Super Man, but there are some easys ways in which to get around this; what you could do is instead of so many verbal instructions, how about writing it down on the white or black board? I don’t think it would kill you to come in and write the instructions down on there, that way, I won’t need to ask you so many times to repeat it and I am able to keep looking at the board and process this as many times as needed, so the way I see it, it’s a win win situation.

I’m sure you don’t really like the classroom gossip and there’s some good news there, niether do I; it distracts me from doing the work since noisy environments aren’t very APD friendly, so you could ask the other students to quieten down, so not only will I have a better chance of doing the work, and the others will get it finished faster. I’m sure you’ve also heard about global warming and if you don’t beleive it to be fact, here’s another reason why you should cut down on the air con. and heater; having this on, adds to the noisy environment, so why don’t we put on or take off or put on our jumpers (sweaters) instead? This is also a good way to save some money and be green.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and I hope that you’ll have a very good day


From Miranda

I hope that you enjoyed this post and have gained a little more insight on it, and since one of the reasons to write this blog is to support the families of APD sufferers and people with APD, I would be more than happy if you were to use this as a guide or template for writing an actual letter, something to present at a meeting of some sort or something else.  

I’ve Battled The Seven Seas with APD, But I still Have Weaknesses

10 Apr

If you have head my other blog posts you’ll find that I’m a bright student who has acheived things that not even my high school teachers thought I could do, that I have a second language under my belt (still learning) and that I am on my way to University to persue my goal of becoming a foreign language teacher. While it may have looked like I have battled the seven seas with one blind eye and a fake leg, I’m not all that perfect, just like everyone else, in fact my APD still affects me and my life in many ways to this day despite the many strategies I have developed to get around it, however, sometimes, I cannot.

There was a time when I was with my girlfriend, it was late at night, were were carrying quite a few things and the place where my girlfriend was staying at, her roommates left to go somewhere leaving us with no key to get inside. I was very tired, cold and my girlfriend was speaking in a foreign language, plus all the sounds of cars, people and other noises around me; usually, I’m fine to process all of this and if I can’t process one or two things when I have a sufficient amount of energy then I’m fine.

On top of the noises of cars going passed, traffic lights going and the constant chatter of people, there was also the fact of my girlfriend speaking in a foreign language not that there’s anything wrong with that which I could not understand, thus could not process and interpret. I’m usually OK with this but when I am tired, I find it ten times more harder to process sounds and interpret them because by this time, I am low on energy making me and because I cannot process as much, I become distressed, upset, sometimes angry and scared.  Heck, I may even scream in public.

So, how I get out of this state temporarily or as quick fix, is I start to take deep breaths and sometimes I block my ears; in this case, I was in a rough part of town and it was late, so that was not an option, so I opted out for the deep breathing, which again, was a quick fix and was not a permanent fix so it wore off and I started to freak out again. How did I get out of this situation and what calmed me? Well a quiet like, home environment is what calmed me along with minimum noise, a shower, a comfy pair of pyjama’s and bed cuddled up next to my lover.

In short and to sum up this post, though I have completed high school, have a second language, go to college and wants to go to University, I still have my weaknesses and my APD, but still, it does get better, trust me. But remember, though there are weaknesses, there will almost always be a way around them even if it’s situational or a quick fix.  

What Helped Me & Useful Tips

5 Apr

Another APD related blog post and this is for all the kids out there struggling with APD and their supportive parents/guardians too!

I remember being in primary school (elementary school for the people in the USA/Canada) and  it was a terrible time most of the time. It was like a constant battle with the classes; listening to the teacher, processing that information and then committing it to memory – but that was not the only thing that I had to process, I also had to process the children around me snickering at me because I said or did something that was apparently ‘not cool’ or they were just snickering at me just because of my appearance or found out I did not have as much money as the other children (went to a rich Catholic school). Not only that, but on hot summer days or the cold winter days there had to be some cooling or heating appliance running, someone tapping their pencil, etc.

Now, you may be able to use your sound discrimination very well and block out certain sounds, but we cannot always do that, so we often get distracted and/or are not able to process the information coming out of the teacher’s mouth thus, missing possibly important parts of information such as where to read next, how to do this sum that might appear on a test and when this homework is due.

    • When the teacher is speaking to all students, he/she should talk clearly and somewhat loudly . If there are children snickering and laughing,  the teacher should ask them to stop. Try to avoid using a cooling or heating unit, tapping of pens and pencils. In short, in the classroom, try to reduce as much noise as possible.

“OK class, please get out you History 101 text books, turn the page to 67 and then read paragraphs two, three and five then answer the questions below”, here the teacher is just doing his or her job but there is something wrong with this picture – students with APD are going to struggle with remembering all of this and will ask the teacher many times to repeat the instructions. Luckily for us there is a far easier way around this rather than just having the teacher repeat his or herself several times. How about writing it on the board (at least long enough to be written down) or giving a photo copied hand out with the questions on it? If written on the board or on a handout it can be processed as many times as required for the student to complete work.

  • Please try to avoid giving us multiple verbal instructions, and instead give us a handout or write it on the board long enough for us to write it down at least.

Giving us different work to do which is easier or putting us into an easier class unless we chose to seems like you are not willing to put it the effort to help us or understand how we learn, especially if we are eager to learn. Just because we ask too many times for help. If you took the time to understand us and the way that we learn (and if the first two steps were followed), we could learn like any other student. It’s also important to know that there is a big difference between an intellectual disability and APD; an intellectual disability refers to limitations on problem solving, numeracy, literacy, but APD refers to not being able to process information well as other people without APD depending on the surrounding sounds. Putting us straight into an easier class or giving us easier work can also be very damaging to our self-esteem thus can encourage attitudes such as ‘why should I even bother trying?’ or ‘I’m so dumb, I can’t do anything’ which make the us want to just give up which can effect education and future significantly.

  • Please don’t just move us into the special class straight away or give us different work to do; set up a meeting with the parents and the teachers to find out if we have any learning difficulties or no one knows, get us tested then develop some helpful strategies such as the one’s above.


Sometimes, we are not even looked upon as ‘dumb’ or ‘special’ but rather ‘lazy’ or immature as mentioned in another post. We listen, we really do try to anyway, but sometimes we cannot process all of what the teacher is saying, especially multiple verbal instructions. Depending on our home environment. the people around us that can help us and what we processed when the homework was talked about this can all have a huge affect on whether we are able to do the homework or not. If the environment is noisy; for example, the television is on low sound, dad is making dinner and the heater is cranked up while Sarah is in the middle of all of this at the kitchen table trying to do her homework not not very much luck. This setting does not work for her as there is a lot of sounds around her that may be easy for the average person to discriminate against, but someone with APD, especially someone under 17 would have a lot of trouble doing her homework. A quiet environment with as less noise as possible is required so he or she can do her homework.

  • Set up a quiet environment or make an environment as quiet as possible for the child to do homework or study in; this could be getting a desk and putting it in a quiet place of the house, on this desk, you could have have pens, pencils, erasers, paper, sharpener etc just for that desk so you don’t have to run around finding things that the child may need and importantly make sure the child brings home whatever is required to do the homework.


I hope you enjoyed reading this and and learnt something new from it, to either help a student, your child or yourself who has APD and remember, it gets better.

APD – We Learn Differently

1 Apr

It is a common misconception that students and teachers think we are ‘dumb’ or ‘retarded’ just because we may not always be able to fully understand as much as someone without APD and sometimes as a result of this we are put into special, unchallenging classes or given different work which is what happened to me. Another reason why this happened is not that I could not eventually understand the work, but I just needed it to be explained to me a lot, possibly in depth and/or written down on a piece of paper so I could process it as much as I needed to.

Because I asked the teacher about the work ‘too many times’ and I was just on the brink of understanding the work when my teacher just gave up on me and then gave me easier work next time which comprised of things like 3D puzzles, adding up shopping lists, activities with counters; I felt like a complete baby. I was not intellectually disabled, I suffered from APD, there is a difference, a BIG difference. I just needed to be taught differently and I would have done as well as the other students. If she had given me a sheet of what needed to be done, I would not have needed ask her a lot of times.

Assuming a child is a needs to do work at a lower lower level just because he or she does not understand is just ignorant, so before teachers determine whether they should lower the intellect of the work, they should find out if there are any learning difficulties and what they mean for that child.

Being ‘retarded’ may not always be the issue here, it could be that the child is ‘lazy’, ‘immature’, or just ‘not listening’. I was once in a maths class back when  I was in grade six or seven and I was having a lot of trouble; I was listening but after the teacher finished explaining it I only got a small percentage of the information processed. After I had asked him to repeat around four or five times he decided to embarrass me in front of the whole class while asking another student to verbally explain what you had to do to this sum and asking him “can you see the vein popping out of my head?’ as if to say he was frustrated with me because I was ‘not listening’.

After that class, I went and cried in the school toilets. A lot of the teachers at my school back then did not understand my disorder so without trying to understand it, they treated me as a special needs student. We’re not dumb and we are not trying to make life harder for the teacher, it’s just that we learn differently. Just giving up on us after the fourth time of explaining it to us and putting us in a special class or giving us different work, especially if we want to learn is just ignorant and personally I find it insulting. If you would take the time with us, we could do  it eighty percent of the time.

Declaring War on Equality

31 Mar

I was walking down a bus stop and I happened to stumble upon a man reading the Herald Sun with the front headline “Church Declares War On Gay Marriage”, so as this is a topic that concerns me, I decided to take a trip down to the newsagents and pick up a copy, find a nice cafe and then sit down with my hot chocolate to read it. I was appalled and dumbfounded at the same time;

“Church leaders will urge Victoria’s million-plus Catholics to campaign against gay marriage, saying it would undermine family life and damage society.” Seriously? And what made them think that if homosexuals were allowed the fundamental right to marry just like our heterosexual counter parts already can that it would some how weaken the traditional family? Well, Catholic Church, I’m sure after same sex marriage is legalised that there will still be traditional families living together and with nothing changed. So, if some of my married straight friends attended my wedding with my partner, would they eventually start arguing more and then get a divorce?

“Without this there would be no human beings and no future,” the letter says.” Is this a parody or an sad, isolated person who has no access to any type of media and just doesn’t go out? The bigoted individual who wrote this has obviously has never heard of a sperm bank and/or lives in his little world in a box thinking that there are no gay couples who want to have kids when there are and I am included in that percentage. Even without marriage there are still same sex couples who make families together, so the only thing that is really going to change, is that same sex couples and families will be as legally recognised as straight families and will have the same benefits. Calm down, no one is forcing you to marry a man. 

“Bringing new human life into the world is founded on the loving union in difference of male and female. Children are best nurtured by a mother and father.” You really do live in a small box where you preach that it’s best to have a male and female, don’t you Catholic Church? Do you even a have  the facts to back up your argument in which doesn’t include the bible? 

“… researchers compared adolescents from carefully matched families headed by female couples and those headed by heterosexual couples and found no differences on all measures of adjustment and well-being, including self-esteem, anxiety, grade averages, reported substance abuse, delinquency, and peer victimisation.” Researchers did find a difference in how connected the children felt to people at school, whereby children with same-sex parents showed a greater connection.” – Page 9, paragraph 2 of The Australian Phycological Society: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Parented Families.

There was a study done by the Australian Phycological Society and according to this study, the children in same-sex families were no different (and in some cases better off) than in a opposite-sex family.  

“Since the 1970s, it has become increasingly clear that it is family processes (such as the quality of
parenting, the psychosocial well-being of parents, the quality of and satisfaction with relationships
within the family, and the level of co-operation and harmony between parents) that contribute to
determining children’s well-being and ‘outcomes’, rather than family structures…”  – Page 8, paragraph 3 of The Australian Phycological Society: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Parented Families.

Regardless of if the parents have the same genitals in under their clothing or not, this will not determine the child’s outcome, what does determine is the levels of care, warmth, love, trust, social connection and support, so if these qualities exist in high levels, the outcome of the children’s mental health will be no be poor.

”Society had not collapsed in countries such as Canada and Spain where marriage equality had been achieved, she said.” What makes these countries any more different than us? Only the fact that they have legalised same sex marriage which grants them the same rights as opposite sex couples. Why would legalising same sex marriage make us collapse when many other countries have not collapsed, what is different?

Marriage equality supporters have described the church’s campaign as “alarmist” and rejected claims gay marriage would undermine family life or damage society.” Even without the facts, people can still confidently say that the legalisation of same-sex marriages will not weaken any family, because how can myself and my partner’s future marriage possibly weaken a single straight marriage? The legalisation will not affect the current rights of heterosexual marriage occupants in anyway, nor will it prevent them from marrying one another in the future.

“The church’s push was not about a lack of respect for people who identify as gay and lesbian, who should be treated with respect and dignity, he said.” Well of course they’re not trying to disrespect us, but instead they are trying to influence the law to force everyone else live by their morals which means LGBT people are second class citizens and do not deserve to be treated equally just because they are against a two-thousand year or more religious text which also says that they have to allow free will.

To conclude this, if you don’t like same-sex marriage, then don’t marry someone of the same sex, it’s that simple. A group of people should not have to live like second class citizens just because it goes against your belief system, if you feel you need to live by your morals, then do so, don’t make it law for everyone else to follow. You don’t see us composing letters of hate to ban all praying just because it goes against our moral code, live and let live.



Growing Up With APD – It Get’s Better!

1 Mar

As you all may know, as well as a lot of things, I am an APD sufferer and despite how much I have gotten used to it and how many strategies I have created and developed to get around this, I do still have problems with it. But, I am not dumb or a ‘retard’ and neither are you! We just learn differently is all. In this blog post, I would like to tell you some of my experiences with growing up with this disorder and the state I am in now.  

I was in grade prep at the time, I’m pretty sure it was something like free time or quiet reading time in a corner or something and I was so engrossed in this book and I’m sure the other children were too. I was no different from these children, aside from one minor detail, my APD which I think my teacher, Miss or Mrs Johnston did not know about. When my teacher called out, all the other children reading heard the command, processed it then came to the front to learn maths or spelling. I heard the command, but did not process it so it was as if I never heard it, so I kept looking at the books and not processing that it was time to go to the front to learn. The teacher must have noticed that I was absent, so she stopped what she was doing and then went to look for me, and where did she find me? I was in the book corner looking at the books, unaware that I was supposed to be down the front with my other class mates. I could not understand whether she was angry or annoyed at me, but she pointed at where the other kids were and then used a loud voice which almost made me cry and scamper to the front.

When I was in grade 3, I could not read very well, in fact I think my ability to read was at a grade one level and I remember being at my table in a group. We all had to read the same book, I cannot remember what it was, but I remember I was having trouble reading it and did not seem to know more than half the words, let alone what the book was about and as a result of this, I began to cry as I was frustrated. At that time, I attended school about 99% of the time, in fact more than other students, however, I could not read so well, do maths, remember important information and other things as much as my classmates, ‘this is not fair, why me?’ I thought. As I cried, the teacher ignored me, my classmates ignored me, I felt so alone, frustrated and very sad. I remember some of the students in my class calling me dumb and telling me that I should go back to grade one or prep.

Now, I could keep telling you about my experiences, but I don’t think I really want to pursue the goal of possibly writing a novel just yet, so I’ll conclude this post by saying ‘It gets better!’, trust me it really does though people will tell you that you are dumb such as saying things like ‘oh don’t worry about it’, ‘I think you should just go to technical school’, ‘no, you can’t help, you’ll only slow us down’, ‘you’re not trying hard enough’, ‘uhg, I give up, I just can’t teach you anything’, ‘if you just paid attention, it wouldn’t be a problem’, etc. I could not even read when I was in about grade three, got kept down a grade and had much difficulty with socialising. However, today I speak a second language – Japanese, I have passed high school successfully, I live independently,  I have an awesome group of friends and who WILL go to University in the future and so can you if that is what you desire!