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Screening for Auditory Processing Disorders

Martha Coen Cummings, Ph.D,CCC

January 29, 2007



What is a good way to screen an 11 year old child for a possible auditory processing problem?


A speech pathologist cannot make that diagnosis, so the "screen" is simply that: a way to determine whether the family should be referred to an audiologist who specializes in the testing of Auditory Processing Disorders in children (norms are age-based due to the development of the auditory system, so it's important that adult norms not be applied).

A speech pathologist can begin by screening peripheral hearing status using an audiometer, per ASHA recommendations, followed by administration of the SCAN-C by Robert Keith (under the appropriate administration protocol indicated for this test). The SCAN-C includes the following subtests: Filtered Words, Auditory Figure Ground, Competing Words, Competing Sentences, and then yields a composite test score that's standardized.

It's imperative to remember that, although some language-based speech pathology tests may use the term "auditory processing" in their subtest description, they are not isolating the auditory system and therefore are NOT considered APD screeners: they are only testing language skills in a sound field environment, without isolating temporal conditions, background noise, or individual ear performance.

Martha Coen Cummings, Ph.D. CCC is the Coordinator of Speech Pathology Services at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Mason Outpatient satellite. She focuses on research and treatment of children with disorders of auditory processing and voice. She is a former President and Chairperson of numerous committees for the following professional associations: the Ohio Speech-Language and Hearing Association, Northern Kentucky Speech-Language *Hearing Association, and the Southwestern Ohio Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Martha has previously presented numerous workshops and full-day presentations on central auditory processing disorders, metalinguistic therapy, and voice assessment/therapy at the local, state, national, and international levels.

martha coen cummings

Martha Coen Cummings, Ph.D,CCC

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