Raising and Educating a Deaf Child

International experts answer your questions about the choices, controversies, and decisions faced by the parents and educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Question from N.S., New Jersey

Need help in finding appropriate strategies for a 7th grader that has been diagnosed with ABNORMAL AUDITORY PERCEPTION. Would a 504 be appropriate or CST referral? His overall grades are not bad a solid B range however, on his standardized test scores were not proficient. Any suggestions??

Question from N.S., New Jersey. Posted October 2, 2011.
Response from Linda J. Spencer - New Mexico State University

I am not familiar with the use of the term “Abnormal Auditory Perception” in the auditory sense.  I have heard the term used to describe a phenomena that is related to neurological insult or traumatic head injury in the context that the auditory centers in the brain “fire at random” and may yield an auditory hallucination type of experience, such that an old conversation is in a way “replayed” or “reheard”.  I am thinking that the term you may be referring to can be called by one of these terms:   Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) or Auditory Processing Disorder  (APD), rather than Abnormal Auditory Perception.   An Auditory Processing Disorder is when the actual ears or hearing parts of the ears work just fine.  The child hears quiet sounds such as leaves rustling, whispers, etc.  If a child is given a hearing test that tests the threshold ability of listening to sounds across all frequencies, they will typically do fine.  In CAPD/APD, the problem arises in discerning what is said, especially if there is noise in the background.  These children may exhibit a variety of classroom issues such as trouble following directions, or telling the difference between sounds that sound alike. These children tend to ask for lots of repeats and they may have trouble with spelling, reading and understanding the language of the classroom. They may do much better in classes where they do not have to rely on listening, or in classes that are “hands on”.  For children with CAPD/APD, it is essential they have a full CAPD workup, and yes a Child Study Team evaluation will be very important. You will need to find a local audiologist who is able to do a CAPD test battery or a university clinic with a Communicative Disorders/Speech Pathology/Audiology program. As these middle school  to high school years approach and classes become more “lecture based” accommodations may mean the difference between a very frustrated and lost student and one who is able to cope with listening and understanding information presented in the classroom.