I’m 61. When I was younger, learning disabilities did NOT exist, by name anyway.

I have been blessed with many talents, some as a result of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) and Attention Deficient Disorder (ADD), some not. I’m a very positive person, fun to be around, have a great sense of humor, love storytelling and writing,(like this website of  writing about learning disorders to supplement my retirement), all probably to deflect focus on my learning disorders. As a child and young adult, I was always disorganized, forgetful and had trouble keeping focus on a task. However, I was also very eager to please, was humorous, upbeat and caring. I feel that these positive ADD qualities helped my teachers, peers and parents in disregard my so called “weaknesses.”

I was capable of great things “if only she had applied herself”, a direct quote from my teacher in elementary school. My parents were very concerned that I wasn’t getting a good education because my grades were not reflecting that I was. My grades, however, ranged from bad to awful.

So, mid year in third grade my sisters and I transferred to another school. Not just any school, Catholic School where my sisters and I were the only Protestants there, awkward! Not only was it hard to leave familiar surroundings and friends but to be put mid-year into an environment that put focus directly on us as “new kids” “non-Catholic”, “from the wrong side of town”. I cried by the end of the first day because everything was so unfamiliar.

The reason we went to this private school was to get out of the public-school system back in the sixties. I felt uncertain, uncomfortable, in an awkward and unexplored situation of a new school and new religion. Catholic is exceedingly different from my Methodist upbringing. Well, as you may guess, we converted Catholic well, tuition was less. If you were Catholic attending Catholic Church, you also attended Catholic School at a reduced rate. Within a year, our family were “converted Catholics”.

I want to blame my first year’s bad grades on the transition to a new environment of church and school. My sister was held back, but because of my size (chubby big girl) I proceeded to the next grade and caught up with the advance curriculum. St. Mary’s was doing multiplication tables in third grade and I hadn’t even heard of those tables.

However, with time the social aspect became comfortable and easy for me because I was fun to be around, a nice, sweet gal and had a good sense of humor. I possess the ability to laugh at myself, which makes life seem bearable during difficult times.

My short-term memory is a joke, especially for tests. Like I have said, my grades were average at best, but have also always struggled, especially in college but I persisted and even got a post graduate degree. I learn differently and finally figured out my learning style. Write, rewrite, and then rewrite again notes from class until I could comprehend, understand, and then answer questions on written exams. However, to verbal answer questions was a weakness. I needed a trigger to retrieve the answers.

I can remember my Mom always saying “you are not listening” when really, I did not process quickly to what I was hearing. So, my comeback now would be “I’m listening, I’m just not processing”.  Taking time to think something through was a sign that you were not listening.

Later while dealing with my daughter’s school problems, I recognized she had a distraction issue, it was established the she had ADD. Now, schools have special adaptions for learning disorders that helped her to take test and medication is helpful. I now think back and recognize my mother having similar ADD and Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) characteristics and that this family gene thing started to become clear. Luckily, the means to the end worked out for me.

Thank you for checking in. Please leave a message or question. I’d love to hear your stories. Please go to ALL EARS to read my other posts like  THINGS ADULTS WITH AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDER DO DIFFERENTLY.


Laura Lee


Things Adults with Auditory Processing Disorder Do Differently

Welcome! You have landed on my website ALL EARS posting my first time about “Things Adults with Auditory Processing Disorder Do Differently.” I love to laugh and will address this sensitive subject with humor. Big Pharma pushed me into early retirement for being different. In defense of NOT being ordinary, the “shove out” was a gift! I never thought I would write those words.

ALL EARS is a site to share encounters of living, working, and struggling with Adult Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), learning disabilities, and anything else that labels you.

I will share with you personalized content, insights, experiences, stories as well as resources, hopefully with a hint of humor. I do hope you find this website useful, a pathway for all who share and survive the misunderstandings of adult learning disorders and doing things differently. It’s great NOT to be ordinary!

My Story

For 25 years, I worked as a medical sales representative for a Fortune 100 Pharmaceutical Company, my dream job, and it was also my identity. The first 20 years, I loved the job, and I had fun doing it. The last five years of that job was anguish and torment. I lost time with my family and my sense of humor (which was the real tragedy) to intense stress while trying to meet the company’s unobtainable expectations.

Yes, I resented the treatment by the managers, and I reached the goals but worked my butt off doing it. I realized when BIG Pharma upgraded technology to laptops and tablets; I didn’t transition well. I could not do things quick enough on the tablet; somewhat right, but still difficult to accept and vexing. This job was financial stability for my family. I lost my sense of humor, lost my job, and lost my youth. What happened to me?

Who says you need to make money doing what you love? Mom and Dad said it because they didn’t like their jobs. Honestly, since when does everyone feel entitled to enjoy every day of their career? Really, what is so wrong with working a regular job you like with people you want to be around, and then pursuing your passion on the side? My passion is writing, and I use this opportunity also to supplement my retirement. Works for me!

In the spirit of celebrating the holidays, I write the dreaded but funny annual newsletter, making fun of myself and anyone related to me, but why only once a year when I can do it weekly? Learning to build a website is what I have been waiting to find, and it is legit, the home of affiliate marketing!

Back To My Story

Let’s get back to my story. Depression and anxiety are what happened. The source of the depression and anxiety started with the love child family secret. My parent didn’t marry until after I was born, but I didn’t know it for 40 years, and back then it was to be kept a secret. I grew up in a small town and did not know, W-T-F? Being the first oops, and the reason for the three siblings that came behind me, very close behind me. Boom, boom, and then oops boom again. I’m okay with it now. However, the depression and anxiety moved to be work-related, I landed in a Psych’s office.

In time, the Psych recognized then tested me for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), inattentive, and easily distracted. The diagnosis explained my repeated errors, lack of concentration at work. I was prescribed medications for depression, anxiety, and ADD. They helped for a while.

The Psych shared with me he had two sons, one with ADD and one who wished he had it! The son with ADD was more creative about learning. I recall when I studied, I wrote and rewrote my notes until I could see the information in my head — something else I do differently, learn.

After several years of continued substandard performance evaluations, intense stress and sleep deprivation, I asked my Psych if ADD could be the reason for the downfall in performance (or was I just a goof-off)? I was desperate. He knew I was frustrated, and it negatively affected my job performance. He suggested tests for assessment Results were I had another learning disorder.

When I learned of this newly diagnosed and uncommon Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), I was surprised but relieved. The Psych and I together worked out the accommodations as it pertained to my position, and I turned it over to the bosses. Note taking is essential, but I had learned early to take notes. Without writing notes, I don’t “process,”  and it didn’t happen.

What Is living with APD Like?

For many people, living with APD is like trying to hear on a cell phone with the signal cutting in and out, but it doesn’t help to change cell service. The wiring in my brain is another “different” for me. There is “no tiny speaker” inside my head to relay messages from the outside. There is no medication for APD either. I’ve researched CBD oil hemp oil and found CBD oils are helpful for many diagnoses; learning disorders, anxiety, pain, arthritis, and many other ailments you can think. I think it is the best thing since aspirin.  I will write a review in a later post.

Diagnosed in tandem with ADD is usually another learning disorder. For me it is APD and is a disorder affecting the ability to understand speech (things sound garbled) and may exhibit as poor listening skills, difficulty processing, carrying out simple instructions and interpreting information presented verbally or with rapid speech, or maybe I don’t give a crap.

This miscommunication causes trouble with coworkers, partners, family, and friends (so, it wasn’t a total loss). I regularly deal with no clarity in what I hear and struggle to understand the mumble. I usually walk away and shrug my shoulders because most of it I never get.  The ears hear the brain listens. Heck yeah, turn it up!

Treatment? Cure?

Treatments can help, but there is no cure. It is helpful to establish eye contact, allow time for sorting information, eliminate distracting noises, have your partner touch you on the arm, shoulder, or wherever to get your attention before speaking. This allows time to shift focus to the conversation, and take notes or write down trigger words. For some topics, email works best. Short term memory is below ordinary and very frustrating, which also comes with age, sadly.

My Psych placed me on six months medical leave diagnosed with severe depression (recurrent) and anxiety, both interfered with the pace of the job, with no improvement while exposed to the speed and the demands of my work settings. Fear is an unpleasant emotion and can be debilitating; it sucks! I grudgingly retired, but Daddy said, “save up,” I did, and we carry on.

Why Am I Doing This?

I want to help you navigate through the living, working, struggling, and adjusting as I learned to do years ago with hours of research, but I know now life is OK on the retired side of Big Pharma. It was a relief to understand why things were such a struggle for me. I have a master’s degree and know I am not dumb, (or at least the diploma suggest it). I love to write, and I find it therapeutic to put my thoughts, emotions, and humor into a website. Ironically, one of the jobs recommended for people with APD is to be a writer; I guess it was meant to be. I hope my passion will be helpful to you.

What’s Next?

Why does it take a “perceived” tragedy to reel you back spiritually? I don’t know God’s will, but He got my attention.

My thoughts on topics for future posts include job severance or buyout, bully bosses (that will be a fun topic), surviving hostile workplace, discrimination, SS Disability, work from home to supplement your income or unemployment, CBD oil and hemp oil, recording devices, and spirituality, all with a hint of my humor.

If you need income (which most of us do), are unemployed, were fired, want to supplement your retirement, or looking for untapped opportunities working from home with an online business, perhaps your disability keeps you from the traditional 8-5 job, I have an option that is working for me.

I mentioned I have registered with an online program to learn how to build websites, how to generate an income with online marketing, to get absolute clarity in every aspect of the online industry.  I provided links to the program on the sidebar, Wealthy Affiliate. You can’t have it all, but you can have a piece. Did I mention they offer a  free trial with no credit card requirement?

If you want to continue after the free trial, it is very reasonably priced for all the support and education they offer.  I have tried many online biz opportunities, but this is the real thing. my cost is now $29.00 monthly because I took the year option instead of monthly.

Do you have suggestions on topics you would like to read? Help me out here if you have thoughts, please leave a comment.

Blessings to all of you visiting this site and check back in soon.

Laura Lee