General Auditory Processing information.
Auditory processing is a building block for language, and although the involvement is complex, we see significant relationships with auditory processing and phonemic awareness (Smart, 2012, Journal of Educational Audiology), and we know that it affects reading abilities as well as having major impacts on classroom learning (Johnston, 2009 - Journal of International Audiology). Auditory Processing should therefore be measured on every child with a language, reading, or classroom learning difficulty. Adults with TBI or similar would also benefit from having auditory processing measured to help understand if core auditory skills have been compromised. We have even seen that auditory processing measurements on a 3-day old infant can predict with impressive accuracy whether the child will have dyslexia or poor reading abilities? (Molfese, 2000 - Brain and Language).
When you have a patient come to you for help, as a professional you want to know as much as you can about that client. You will want to measure an array of different areas depending on the case history. Auditory processing measurement tools have been quite limited in their availability without referral to an audiologist or require extensive extra-training in interpretation of results. Other tools, like questionnaires have been shown recently to have poor correlation to actual auditory processing test results (Wilson 2011 - journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research). BUT NOW! You can measure auditory processing abilities VERY thoroughly to add insight into children who have language delay, reading deficits, phonemic awareness difficulties, and classroom learning issues.
What is 'Feather Squadron'?
Feather Squadron is an iPad app that thoroughly and accurately measures auditory processing abilities by playing a series of video games. The assessments are automatically available from within the Acoustic Pioneer website (Click here to sign up for free). More advanced skills such as language, reading, and learning are reliant on normally developed auditory processing skills. Studies consistently indicate that strong auditory processing skills are required to develop language and reading abilities. Experts estimate around 5-10% of children have an auditory processing problem, yet very few are being assessed for their auditory processing abilities. Feather Squadron allows professionals to assess a range of auditory processing skills in a fast, fun, and easy way!
Which clients should I test?
In short, all those on your case load that have a delay in language, reading, or general classroom learning and there are not other obvious significant impairments (e.g., Down syndrome or a significant intellectual disability)
Does an APD test fit with other results?
Many variables can affect a child's ability. For example, reading ability can be affected by knowledge of language, psychological and emotional state, global IQ, exposure to reading at home and many other variables. Auditory processing is an important skill that Language, and then reading, are based upon. If the core skills are not as strong, logic tells us that the higher level skills will be more challenging to develop even with top down skills compensating. If we can isolate and improve the core skills, then we should be able to make more progress with higher level skills, but they will still need therapy and training for the higher level language and reading skills. Specific Language impairment, APD, and other areas can be affecting a child's development simultaneously (Sharma, 2009 - Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research) so unless you assess each area, you really don't know the entire picture of your client which bears impacts on your therapy plans and even the overall progress we all want to make.
Is there a way to treat APD?
The auditory system is plastic. There are several published journal articles on ways to improve auditory processing areas with directed and adaptive auditory training. We have developed 2 apps that are targeted at the most common areas and the areas that are the strongest correlates to reading and language delays. Read more about our training apps when you have signed up for an account.
Should APD be included in a typical test battery?
Unless there are obvious and severe cognitive problems or severe global delays, we recommend adding auditory processing to your test battery as it does have significant impacts. Think about it, ALL spoken language and ALL reading is an auditory skill. If the auditory system isn't developing as expected, of course you are going to see language and Reading problems. Clearly, we are VERY passionate about this particular area, but for good reason, so yes we recommend this being tested on all those on your caseload unless there are obvious reasons to rule it out (e.g., Down syndrome)
Can I diagnose APD?
Diagnosis of APD is to be done solely by a qualified audiologist.
How does it score?
Ah.... The best part. It is all compared to same-aged norms automatically! A HUGE TIME SAVER and a report is generated automatically as well!
What does the report look like?
Click here for a sample report.