Clinical Forum: The Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist in Identifying and Treating Children With Auditory Processing Disorder  |   July 2011
Peeling the Onion of Auditory Processing Disorder: A Language/Curricular-Based Perspective
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Geraldine P. Wallach
    California State University at Long Beach
  • Correspondence to Geraldine P. Wallach: coronacape@aol.com
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Ilsa Schwarz
    Associate Editor: Ilsa Schwarz×
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / School-Based Settings / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions
Clinical Forum: The Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist in Identifying and Treating Children With Auditory Processing Disorder   |   July 2011
Peeling the Onion of Auditory Processing Disorder: A Language/Curricular-Based Perspective
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools July 2011, Vol.42, 273-285. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2010/10-0008)
History: Accepted 19 Oct 2010 , Received 31 Jan 2010 , Revised 23 Jul 2010
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools July 2011, Vol.42, 273-285. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2010/10-0008)
History: Accepted 19 Oct 2010 , Received 31 Jan 2010 , Revised 23 Jul 2010

Purpose: This article addresses auditory processing disorder (APD) from a language-based perspective. The author asks speech-language pathologists to evaluate the functionality (or not) of APD as a diagnostic category for children and adolescents with language-learning and academic difficulties. Suggestions are offered from a curriculum-relevant/strategic-based language approach that places APD symptoms within a broader framework and takes into account the complex interaction among the language knowledge, skills, and strategies needed for academic success.

Method: Using the metaphor of peeling an onion to get to its core, the author demonstrates how auditory perceptual processing is influenced by and dependent on language abilities. Examples of curricular content are used to highlight the language savvy needed by students with language-learning disabilities (LLDs) to access the curriculum.

Conclusion: At the heart of the article is the question of what is (or are) the most effective way(s) to treat problems defined as “auditory” in nature. The article concludes with 10 suggestions that remind clinicians to consider the usefulness of viewing auditory processing problems as isolated events that can be “fixed.” Practical guidelines for creating authentic and functional intervention targets at school-age levels are also provided.

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