APD: lessons from history

Contact Name: Wayne Wilson

Contact Email: w.wilson@uq.edu.au

Dr Wayne Wilson PhD MAudSA CCP is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. He has served in audiology clinics and universities around the world; has published 65 research papers, book chapters and patents; and has given over 275 presentations at scientific conferences (including 8 key-note addresses) and professional and community meetings. His APD research has been included in white papers and national guidelines in the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand and has been listed in the top 10 most read articles in the international scientific literature.

In 2009, Jerger (2009, p. 10) eloquently surmised the controversies surrounding auditory processing disorder (APD) by stating “APD means different things to different people”. He argued this was due (at least in part) to three historical approaches having been taken to APD: 1. the audiological approach, which is based on the concept of brain injury, 2. the psychoeducational approach, which is based on the concept of a set of primary (discrete) auditory abilities and 3. an approach based on the possible impact APD could have on language acquisition and learning. In this presentation I will argue that that a further three approaches can now be added: 4. an approach based on the requirement that APD be modality specific (Cacace & McFarland, 2013), 5. an approach based on the defining feature of APD being a deficit in auditory attention (Moore et al., 2010), and 6. an approach based on abandoning attempts to define APD in favour of managing the presenting listening difficulties (Dillon et al., 2012). While all six approaches to APD contain strengths and weaknesses, attempts to determine which approach would best serve persons with APD are confounded by the high likelihood that these different approaches are identifying different people.


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