Auditory Processing Information for parents

Dr. Jack Katz

Not only Parents, but also many professionals, have difficulty understanding Auditory Processing (AP). (Also known as Central Auditory Processing or Auditory Perception) This confusion is caused, in part, because AP problems are heterogenous, so they may look quite different in one child than the next. To add confusion there are many approaches in evaluating these children and in dealing with their problems. It is also confusing to see the variety of tests that claim (probably correctly) to evaluate AP Dysfunction or AP Disorder (APD). Finally, it is often hard to see how the school/ communication problems of the child relate to the tests administered, and therapy or management strategies that are recommended. This brief review will present the Buffalo Model to help clarify these issues. It should help in understanding what our tests do and to relate the findings to the appropriate remedial approaches. This should enable parents to ask informed questions and ultimately to help them to get the kind of services that their child needs. The Buffalo Model begins with a simple definition of AP. AP is what we do with what we hear. It is not something we can measure with a simple hearing test. Rather, it is the efficiency with which individuals are able to manage the more complex auditory information that they hear. The Central auditory system is extensive and requires exquisite precision; little wonder that there is such diversity in AP problems, depending on where the breakdown/ difficulty may be. However, based on the child’s auditory test performance, we can predict with good accuracy the difficulties that he or she has in learning and communication. This relationship between the child’s problems and the test results adds confidence in the methods we use. Importantly, it helps us to develop an effective program of remediation and support based on the specific test findings.