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BACKGROUND: Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) does not feature in mainstream diagnostic classifications such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV), but is frequently diagnosed in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and is becoming more frequently diagnosed in the United Kingdom. AIMS: To familiarize readers with current controversies surrounding APD, with an emphasis on how APD might be conceptualized in relation to language and reading problems, attentional problems and autistic spectrum disorders. METHODS & PROCEDURES: Different conceptual and diagnostic approaches adopted by audiologists and psychologists can lead to a confusing picture whereby the child who is regarded as having a specific learning disability by one group of experts may be given an APD diagnosis by another. While this could be indicative of co-morbidity, there are concerns that different professional groups are using different labels for the same symptoms. CONCLUSIONS & IMPLICATIONS: APD, as currently diagnosed, is not a coherent category, but that rather than abandoning the construct, we need to develop improved methods for assessment and diagnosis, with a focus on interdisciplinary evaluation.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Lang Commun Disord

Publication Date





440 - 465


Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity, Auditory Perception, Auditory Perceptual Disorders, Child, Child Development Disorders, Pervasive, Developmental Disabilities, Humans, Language Development Disorders, Models, Psychological, Psychometrics