American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
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Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory processing disorder (APD) is often described as greater than expected difficulty hearing and understanding speech even though no measureable hearing loss exists. Individuals with auditory processing disorders may act as though a hearing loss is present when in fact, hearing sensitivity is often within normal limits. APD is often confused with other disorders such as ADHD, language impairment, learning disabilities, social and emotional delays or cognitive deficits. It is important to take a multidisciplinary approach for accurate diagnosis of this disorder. Members of the team may include the speech-language pathologist, psychologist, classroom teacher, physician, parent and the audiologist. If screening results are consistent with APD, the audiologist will complete a comprehensive battery of tests that are chosen based on the person’s age, auditory problems, language and cognitive abilities.

Intervention or management of diagnosed CAPD generally targets three different areas:

  • Direct therapy such as auditory or phonologic awareness training
  • Environmental modifications to improve access to speech or instruction (e.g., improving classroom acoustics, use of sound field or personal FM equipment, etc.)
  • Compensatory strategies—techniques for making better use of auditory information (i.e., active listening techniques, problem solving, journaling, etc.

Understanding Auditory Processing Disorders in Children by Teri James Bellis, PhD, CCC-A

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