Assessing the role of questionnaires in the assessment of auditory processing disorder

Contact Name: Johanna Barry

Contact Email: johanna@ihr.mrc.ac.uk

I trained in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at the University of Melbourne where I completed a PhD at the Bionic Ear Institute investigating the relationship between speech perception and speech production in pre-linguistically deafened Cantonese-speaking children using a cochlear implant. For my post-doctoral research with Professor Dorothy Bishop, I investigated the causes and correlates of language impairment, specifically focusing on issues to do with heritability of deficits in verbal short-term memory. I was subsequently awarded a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship to further investigate the neural bases of these deficits at the Max Planck Institute of Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Now at the MRC Institute of Hearing Research, I head the Nottingham Clinical Section. My attention has shifted to questions to do understanding and more effectively assessing auditory and listening deficits in developmental disorders like auditory processing disorder, specific language impairment, hearing impairment, dyslexia.

Research or clinical assessment of children’s listening and cognitive skills provides a snap shot of ability on abstract tasks that putatively tapping into underlying constructs of interest. The tasks provide considerable information about differences in ability to perform tasks, but less insight into how these differences impact on everyday functioning. Parental report-based measures can supplement such information by providing insight into a child’s ability to function in every contexts. However, these measures need to be carefully designed if they are to be useful. This means items should not only be informative about difficulty but should also be easy for respondents to understand as well as minimally susceptible to their individual response biases.

 In this talk, I will describe some work we have done at the MRC Institute of Hearing Research to develop a questionnaire to support the assessment of children referred because of suspected auditory processing disorder. I will begin by reviewing problems with current auditory based assessments of APD. I will explain why we argue that the questionnaire can potentially support clinicians in assessment children. I will then review the approach we took to developing a new questionnaire (the ECLiPS – Evaluation of Children’s Listening and Processing Skills), before presenting working from various studies where we have used the ECLIPS to screen for listening difficulties as part of our endeavour to validate the ECLiPS.

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