Objective The aim was to address the controversy that exists over the extent to which auditory processing disorder (APD) is a separate diagnostic category with a distinctive psychometric profile, rather than a reflection of a more general learning disability.
Methods Children with an APD diagnosis (N=25) were compared with children with dyslexia (N=19) on a battery of standardised auditory processing, language, literacy and non-verbal intelligence quotient measures as well as parental report measures of communicative skill and listening behaviour. A follow-up of a subset of children included a parent report screening questionnaire for Asperger syndrome (Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test).
Results There were similarly high levels of attentional, reading and language problems in both groups. One peculiarity of the APD group was a discrepancy between parental report of poor communication and listening skill disproportionate to expectations based on standardised test performance. Follow-up assessment suggested high levels of previously unrecognised autistic features within the APD group.
Conclusions Children diagnosed by audiological experts as having APD are likely to have broader neurodevelopmental disorders and would benefit from evaluation by a multidisciplinary team.
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Funding Deafness Research UK, 330–332 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8EE.
Competing interest None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Patient consent Obtained from the parents.
Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Oxfordshire REC B, University of Oxford Ethics Committee.