Excerpt From 'Sound of Hope' by Lois Heymann and Rosie O'Donnell

The Sound of Hope

In the "Sound of Hope," authors Lois Heyman and Rosie O'Donnell offer a guide for parents to improve the language and listening skills of children with auditory processing disorder.

Read an excerpt from the book below, and then head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads. Chapter One

When Hearing Isn't Listening: The ABCs of APD

Margaret's beautiful baby boy Billy Ray was six months old when she began to sense that something wasn't right. Why didn't Billy Ray look at her, even when Margaret took him in her arms and murmured his name? Margaret had a powerful sense that the sounds her little boy made, so different in pitch and tone from her first child's coos and giggles were just, well, wrong. And Margaret rarely had any sense that her son was making his baby sounds in response to the things his mom said or did.

VIDEO: Lois Kam Heyman and Rosie ODonnell explain auditory pocessing disorder.
Rosie O'Donnell's 'Sound of Hope'

Her doctor assured her there was nothing to worry about. "Boys start to talk later than girls," he explained. "Besides, Billy Ray is the second child in the family. His need to communicate with you is not as great." Well, he's the doctor, Margaret thought. Yet in her heart, she just couldn't accept these reasonable-sounding explanations. Margaret felt deep down that Billy Ray should be responding more to her and her husband's voices and the sounds and noises in their home. Based on her experience with her first child, she sensed that the pre-speech vocalizations Billy Ray made should be different from what they were. Reaching for a box of rice one afternoon at home, Margaret impulsively rattled it behind Billy Ray's head. When he again failed to react, Margaret knew what she had to do. The following day, she had Billy Ray's hearing checked, fully expecting that her child had a hearing impairment.

The results came back normal.

Undeterred, Margaret arranged for consultations with two separate pediatric neurologists. After a battery of tests and examinations with Billy Ray and a lengthy interview with Margaret, both doctors concluded that Billy Ray had pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). Margaret had never heard of PDD, a condition involving developmental delays of socialization and communication skills. She tried to be as upbeat as possible as each neurologist explained what PDD was and described a therapeutic preschool and the necessary therapy that would accommodate Billy Ray's special needs. Margaret was grateful for the diagnosis—having one gave her something new to focus her efforts on—but worried that the doctors were sentencing her beautiful little boy to a life of isolation. Nevertheless, Margaret did the research, fought with her insurance company, and adjusted her family's budget so that Billy Ray could attend the school and receive the therapy that both doctors recommended.

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