Testing for auditory processing disorder in children using new normative values


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Towson University. Department of Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology and Deaf Studies


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The auditory processing disorder (APD) test battery used for diagnosing children with suspected APD is variable across clinics. Suggestions have been made for clinicians to use a minimum core battery with supplemental tests as needed; however, agreement on specific tests to include in this battery has not been made (AAA, 2010; Jerger & Musiek, 2000). New normative data were obtained using a battery developed with the suggestions provided in the AAA (2010) position statement in mind (McDermott, 2014). It is well-known that the brain is complex; therefore, co-occurring disorders are not only possible but expected (Witton, 2010). The main aim of this study was to assess children with confirmed or suspected APD using the new normative data for test interpretation. Ten children, aged 7 to 12 years, with suspected or confirmed APD (SusAPD/APD group) were participants in this study. Their language, phonological processing, nonverbal intelligence, and attention were screened. The participants also received a hearing screening and a comprehensive auditory processing (AP) assessment. Case history revealed that nine of the 10 participants also had suspected or previously diagnosed co-occurring disorders. The SusAPD/APD group's scores (screening tests and AP tests) were compared to the scores of the control group (CG) consisting of 20 age- (+/- 6 months) and gender-matched children. Results of the screening tests revealed that the CG performed significantly better than the SusAPD/APD group on the Test of Nonverbal Intelligence, 3rd Edition (TONI-3) and Phonological Awareness (PA) subtest of the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP). The CG had better duration pattern test (DPT) scores for the right and left ears when compared to the SusAPD/APD group. The CG also had better mean scores for all screening tests except the IVA-CPT and for all AP tests in the temporal processing domain; however, this finding was non-significant. The use of the suggested screening tests will assist audiologists in making recommendations and modification to the AP test battery. The findings from this study also indicate the need for a larger sample size to further evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the tests of AP used in this study.