I had a discussion with a parent today that highlighted the need for this post. The topic of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) also referred to as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) has been a source of controversy and warm discussions amongst academics, audiologists, speech pathologists and parents of children with listening difficulties for many years.
I read this newly released white paper the other day that was a refreshing summary of the controversy and resulting conflicting information offered to parents who are trying to assist their children.
This mother had identified that her child had many of the features that are indicative of APD but she was unsure of whether to get an assessment by an audiologist or a speech pathologist first. As we discussed her concerns about her child further it became obvious that this boy was struggling with a number of areas and needed immediate assistance to develop the functional skills he needs now. Given that within Australia there is no funding/support based on diagnosis of APD the diagnostic process may seem superfluous but the diagnostic assessment data compiled by an audiologist is often useful to the treating speech pathologist. So what does a parent do? I will suggest what I did to this parent. If you could access services for free you would get both straight away. If you are paying for services and on a limited budget then start with your speech pathologist as regardless of whether there is a diagnosis in place yet they can assist with the functional difficulties your child is experiencing. If it comes to a choice between therapy and diagnosis then I would recommend therapy first.