Speech Therapy Services

Auditory Processing Disorders

What are Auditory Processing Disorders?

Auditory Processing Disorders relate to a difficulty processing spoken information, but instead of this being an issue with the ears (how the sound comes in), it is a breakdown in how the brain decodes the message after it comes from the ears. For a child to have a true auditory processing disorder, they would have no hearing impairments.

Different components of Auditory Processing

  • Auditory Discrimination: A child’s ability to identify differences in sounds. (Ex. Cat, bat. Are they the same or different?)
  • Auditory memory: A child’s ability to mentally store information that is spoken.
  • Auditory Rate: The speed a child can process spoken information.
  • Auditory sequencing: A child’s ability to identify the order that auditory information is presented.

How do you treat it?

In our clinic, speech therapy is utilized to address the language processing skills that underly auditory processing such as auditory memory and training of skills to increase retention, phonological awareness, and coping strategies for children who have difficulty performing in a regular classroom (i.e., practicing looking at the teacher when she speaks, sitting in the front, etc.).

How is it diagnosed?

Auditory processing disorders can be diagnosed by an audiologist. Our clinic provides testing to determine if a child has deficits in components of auditory processing. If our tests reveal weaknesses, therapy can be started to address the language processing skills to potentially increase a child’s success with auditory processing skills.

What tests do you use?

The speech therapist in our clinic uses 2 tests to identify children/young adults who may have deficits related to auditory processing:

Test of Auditory Processing Skills 3 (TAPS 3)

This test is given to evaluate auditory skills necessary for the development, use, and understanding of language commonly utilized in academic and everyday activities. Norms are provided for ages 4-0 through 18-11. The TAPS-3 is designed to be used by speech language pathologists, audiologists, special education and resource teachers, and other clinicians who are interested in, and have been trained to assess a child’s use of auditory information.

The SCAN-3 for Children: Tests for Auditory Processing Disorders (SCAN-3:C)

This test is utilized to screen for auditory processing disorders. This test is administered through headphones, where children are required to repeat words and sentences that were presented auditorily. This test is designed to identify auditory processing disorders in children, and it is standardized through the age of 12 years and 11 months.

These tests are not used to diagnose an auditory processing disorder; however, they are used to assesses what an individual understands of what is heard and identify children at risk for auditory processing disorders.

What is the next step if my child is identified as having deficits in auditory processing skills?

The therapist may recommend speech therapy to address language processing skills and any other deficits the child has. A referral may also be made for complete auditory processing testing with a clinic that offers it.

Why is it important to be tested by a speech therapist for APD (auditory processing disorder) if they cannot diagnose it?

Speech therapists can treat issues related to auditory processing disorders even though they cannot diagnose it. This is like the testing for Autism Spectrum Disorder; there are typically language deficits in Autism that can be easily addressed in speech therapy, but speech therapists cannot diagnose Autism. An Autism diagnosis must come from a psychologist or other qualified professional, and an APD diagnosis must come from an audiologist. However, speech therapists are perfectly qualified to treat many deficits seen with APD.

Clinicians Providing These Services:
Megan Crisler Megan Zecher

Information taken from: An Advanced Review of Speech-Language Pathology, Preparation for PRAXIS and Comprehensive Examination, Third Edition. Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin, M.N. Hegde.