Audiology Committee ( Information for the patient )
Conversation between A/Professors Mridula Sharma, Macquarie University and Danielle Tomlin, The University of Melbourne
What are the most commonly asked questions by the parents when they come to the clinic?
If they have APD, will they have it forever?
- No, if they are diagnosed with a deficit, they will not necessarily have it forever. If we find issues, we will recommend some remediation strategies to help with their auditory processing development. AP ability naturally improves with age. In some kids it can be delayed for several reasons (e.g. long history of middle ear issues). They may naturally grow out of it, but if we can help ‘speed up’ the process, we shall.
If you find something, can you do anything about it?
- We used evidenced based deficit specific remediation strategies. It depends on what issue we find for what we may recommend.
Does APD rule out ADHD or ASD?
- The two can be happening in conjunction, or influencing each other. For example, poor attention may influence APD test results.
Can you test AP skills if they currently have ear issues (e.g. ear infections?)
- Technically yes, but results may not be as accurate if peripheral hearing is influencing how well they can hear the tasks. If possible, it is best to test AP when the ear infection has been cleared.
If there is nothing from the test results, can you provide suggestions where to go next?
- Depending on the history and concerns raised, we may have an idea in the next steps to take with your child. Commonly, a pediatrician is a good place to start. Other referral pathways may include: educational psychologist, occupational therapist and speech therapist (dependent on results and concerns).
- I would like my 4-year old to be assessed for APD. Do you offer that?
- No, it is best not to try and assess children as young as 4 years. Attention and auditory processing develop with age and most tasks that assess auditory processing are difficult for children younger than 6 years of age.
I would like my child to have access to a particular training program, can you provide that?
- We provide training programs based on the assessment and if appropriate and if evidenced-based then the auditory training program will be available. Please note, however, that not all training programs currently available have adequate research that support their application.
My teenager was diagnosed with APD as a pre-schooler, are there any new treatments available?
- It would have been unusual to have a diagnosis made for a child in pre-school. It would be best to retest at present age to determine what are the current difficulties. As we grow older, the expectations and demands on the listening differ. Before applying for any training program, it is best to re-evaluate.
My child is struggling with reading, do you think they may have APD?
- Research has shown that most children with reading difficulties also have a co-existing APD. Therefore, to design a tailor-made management program, it would be necessary to assess them to confirm if there is an APD and what auditory processing skills are impacted.
My child’s school has an open-plan setting. Should I move schools?
- That would be up to you, however, open-plan classrooms can cause challenges to listen and therefore learning. Most research has shown that open classrooms can be noisy, and most children and teachers struggle to hear during discussion time and get tired very quickly due to the effort spent listening to learn.