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Communication, Listening, Cognitive and Speech Perception Skills in Children With Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) or Specific Language Impairment
Article: Ferguson, M. & Hall, R. (2011). Communication, Listening, Cognitive and Speech Perception Skills in Children With Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) or Specific Language Impairment (SLI), 54, 211-227.
Children with an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) have difficulty interpreting the sounds around them, while those with a Specific Language Impairment (SLI) have difficulty learning language. In many ways, however, the difficulties of children with APD and SLI overlap making differentiating between them complex. It is possible that specialists from different areas may give varying diagnoses to a child (APD, SLI, Dyslexia, etc.), based upon their specialty. There is a great need for clear diagnostic measures to distinguish between children with APD, SLI and other language disorders. This would allow for adequate identification and provisions to be made as early as possible.
Ferguson and Hall's study (2011) focuses on finding measures to differentiate between children with APD and SLI. The children were divided into 3 groups: an APD group (n=19), an SLI group (n=22) and an unselected control group comprised of children in Mainstream School (MS) group (n=47). The children were tested with a widespread set of diagnostic tools including measures of speech intelligibility (clarity), intelligence, phonological (speech sound) processing, memory, and others. Parents completed questionnaires related to their child's communication, listening behaviour, and attention. The APD group was found to have more difficulty listening at varying levels of distractor noise (by parental report) than either the SLI or MS groups. Interestingly, the researchers found no significant difference between the APD and SLI groups on the other measures.Overall, the results suggest that children with APD and SLI may be difficult to distinguish on standard measures of achievement.
This was an excellent foundational study. From this it is evident that in the future, more specific tests should be used to find differences between the APD and SLI groups. In addition, more careful matching of the control group to the affected groups may prove useful.
Blogger: Michaela Holmes is a student in the Graduate Neuroscience program at Western completing a Masters degree under the supervision of Drs. David Purcell and Lisa Archibald. Her work is examining auditory feedback in children with SLI and those with typical development. She hails from Vancouver, B.C., and is the oldest of 5 red-headed sisters!