Dorian Frith was featured in our 2016 Spring issue. At that time, he was in the 8th grade at Mount Saint Agnes Academy. Six years later, he’s 20, an MSA Alumni, in his sophomore year at Niagara College, Welland Campus in Ontario, Canada. Dorian’s majoring in Police Foundations with the goal of a career in Forensic Psychology and Crime Scene processing.
“APD hasn’t stopped me from achieving anything I set out to accomplish. I can do it. It just takes hard work, time and dedication.”Frith, 2022
When Dorian was 7, he was diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). His mom, Corrine Frith, first noticed that something was wrong when Dorian was young. “He couldn’t tell an ‘e’ from an ‘a’ and I wondered why he wouldn’t do things when I asked him.” Despite having perfect hearing and speech, Ms. Frith noticed that even when Dorian knew things, he struggled to articulate it. She was advised to get in touch with Yvonne West, a Speech & Language Pathologist with the Department of Health’s Speech & Language Services Clinic. “Yvonne noticed that Dorian’s issue was not comprehension or a speech disorder. She worked with him on the premise that it was APD (Dorian was considered too young at that time to be tested) and she was right.” While Dorian worked with Ms. West, Ms. Frith continued looking for solutions. Further testing eventually brought them to Boston’s Children’s Hospital where Dorian underwent extensive evaluations which confirmed the diagnosis of APD. Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a disorder of the auditory system that causes a disruption in the way an individual’s brain understands what they’re hearing.
Dorian has never let the diagnosis slow him down or hold him back. “APD is something that will stick with me for life,” says Dorian. “It affects everything I do. It takes me a little longer to figure things out and solve problems, but it doesn’t matter. Repetition helps.”
Enjoying college life, Dorian says his professors are supportive and always open to answering questions and repeating things for him. “It can be challenging but we have online lectures and classrooms are small. We have 24 kids in a class, which is great. I’m not just a number in a crowd. You really get to know each other.”
He says dorm life is also no problem and that he has been fortunate to have a great roommate and good friends. “I’m lucky, I still have the same roommate from my first year. We get along well.”
Advice for anyone struggling with APD? Dorian says not to be shy asking for help. “Help is always available. Don’t be afraid to speak up.” He also recommends, “Keeping a calendar and a notebook. When something is due, get it done early because procrastinating can stab you in the back!”
Dorian, whose favourite class is Conflict Management, is interested in crime and planning to take an elective class in Criminology this spring. His current major of Police Foundations teaches an overview of the law enforcement system, how to maintain law and order, and preventing, detecting, and investigating crime. Dorian has dual citizenship with Bermuda and Canada and hopes to be able to stay in Canada after he graduates to get work experience.
As for the ‘Four Musketeers’” from his MSA days, they don’t go to the same college, but Dorian says they are all still friends. “I see them when I’m home. We hang out then. We call each other and keep in contact.”
What are the Signs and Symptoms of APD?
Signs and symptoms of Auditory Processing Disorder vary from person to person. Many symptoms can often be associated with other commonly known disorders, such as ADD/ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder and speech and/or language disorders. If you are concerned that your child may have APD, please consult with their pediatrician.
Some of the most frequently reported symptoms include:
- Difficulty understanding speech, especially in the presence of background noise.
- Difficulty following multi-step directions that are presented verbally, without visual cues.
- Easily distracted by loud or spontaneous sounds.
- Difficulty attending long lectures or other long periods of listening.
- Difficulty remembering and/or effectively summarizing information presented verbally.
- Difficulty reading, spelling, and/or writing when compared to with peers. Performing consistently below grade level.
- Trouble following abstract thoughts or ideas.
- Delayed or misunderstanding jokes, idioms, and figurative language.