Prevalence of auditory processing disorder in students with learning difficulties

A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology (it means “the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, function, and diseases of the ear, nose, and throat” – I looked it up, and no, I can’t say it quickly three times) found a high prevalence of auditory processing disorder (APD) in a population of children otherwise identified as having learning difficulties.

The study examined 127 students referred for special learning services.

APD was found to be present in 43.3% and co-existing with developmental dyslexia in 25% of cases.

It stands to reason that a program like Fast ForWord that specifically addresses deficits in auditory processing abilities would be an effective intervention for a large population of struggling students who may not have had a formal diagnosis of auditory processing disorder.

The article also seems to suggest that APD can have such a dramatic effect on learning abilities that students with an APD diagnosis are identified as struggling learners far earlier than their peers without an APD diagnosis:

The diagnosis of APD correlated with age in that children with APD were younger by 2 years than those without a diagnosis of APD.

The authors of the study suggested that the correlation between APD and learning difficulties indicated that there was a possible benefit in additional screening for the disorder. We could do that. Or, we could skip the screening and deliver an intensive learning intervention to all students that can dramatically improve their auditory processing abilities, as well as other foundation cognitive skills that are critical for learning, including attention, sequencing and working memory.

The full article is subscription only, but the abstract is available online.

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