Megan Muehlberg, 15, is a young woman who wants to be heard. The 15-year-old lives with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) and wants others to learn more about her disability.
Muehlberg is the current Miss Teen Hennepin County International. “With my title, I have been helping raise awareness for APD,” she said. “Many people have heard of dyslexia but very few people have heard of APD. APD is how the brain processes what you hear, much like how the brain processes what the eyes see with dyslexia.”
The young activist worked with Gov. Tim Pawlenty to make October Minnesota’s APD Awareness Month and received a signed proclamation for her efforts.
“I want to do this to raise awareness of APD and hopefully try to help reach kids who may have this disorder and never receive the proper diagnosis and re-training of the brain,” she said.
Muehlberg was diagnosed with her learning disability as a second-grader. APD often mimics Attention Deficit Disorder and is often misdiagnosed as such. Her diagnosis launched a long effort by her family to get the help she needed from her school district. One huge challenge was that none of the teachers and school district special education personnel had even heard of APD, which meant the education professionals themselves needed to be educated.
As part of her Individual Education Plan (IEP), Muehl-berg received a sound discrimination speaker (FM speaker) and a microphone that the teacher wore in the classroom as a modification through an IEP (Individual Education Plan). “Had that been all I received, I may never have learned to overcome the learning disability,” she said. “Because the school district didn’t know what else to do and didn’t have the funds to do further help, my parents got me into programs to help me re-train my brain on what/how it heard words and sounds. I used PC based programs such as Fast ForWord and Eararobics.”
Muehlberg is a sophomore at Park Center Senior High School in Brooklyn Park. She plays volleyball and was a captain for her team this season. She is on a Leadership Team with her church called S.A.L.T. (St. Al’s Leadership Team) and sings in the church choir.
Her parents are David and Denise Muehlberg. She has one brother, Brandon, age 12, and a dog named Bear.
“My mom and my pageant coach, Cheri Kennedy have inspired me, by telling me that no matter what, I can do whatever I put my mind too. And I have a strong passion to work towards my goal, and get the word out about APD,” she said.
“I want to finish high school, and go to Mankato State for College,” she said. “I haven’t decided if I want to major in communications, than become a lawyer.”
She is volunteering with the National Coalition of Auditory Processing Disorder or NCAPD and is working with Dr. Jay Lucker, founder of NCAPD to spread the word so children can receive early intervention. “The only way to do this is by public awareness and education,” Muehlberg said. She gives presentations to schools and also blogs about APD.