Central Auditory Processing Disorders Evaluation & Diagnosis

*Consent for this in-depth testing, conducted by an audiologist, is part of a full case-study special education evaluation AND requires parent consent through an Individual Needs Assessment /Review of Existing Data (INA) meeting.

This evaluation through a special education referral is free to parents. A letter is mailed to parents with contact information to make an appointment at their convenience. The audiologist provides a written report to the parent and TCSE Audiological CoordinatorAuditory processing is what our brain does with what it hears. This is a central nervous system issue related to how the brain translates signals and sounds that are heard. This is different from language processing or the skills of attention and concentration. Although the human auditory system is fully developed at birth, auditory pathways don’t fully mature until age 10-12 years old. Accurate diagnosis of APD is critical because:

Not all listening problems are APD, although APD causes problems listening. APD can be associated with reading, spelling, and language disorders⁠—but so can other disorders. Other disorders⁠—such as ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and mild cognitive impairment—can mimic APD but require different treatment. There are different types of APD and they need to be managed differently. A generic list of suggestions may help certain types of APD but make others worse or at a minimum be ineffective. Auditory processing disorders are not one size fits all. Recommendations for environmental modification, compensatory strategies, or remediation are based on the type of processing disorder identified through formal assessment. The types/categories include; Auditory Perception; Prosodic Dysfunction and Integration Dysfunction. Through a school’s multi-tiered systems of support, concerns regarding the processing of auditory information to the brain may include a review of the listening and learning abilities and behaviors in the classroom and specific screening measures. To avoid confusing APD with other disorders that can affect a person’s ability to attend, understand, and remember, it is important to emphasize that APD is an auditory deficit that is not the result of other higher-order cognitive, language, or a related disorders. General education accommodations may be provided without a diagnosis of auditory processing disorder when deficits in this area are present and educational impact is identified. Likewise, a diagnosis of auditory processing disorder does not automatically qualify a child for special education and related services.

Screening measures and tools are used by speech-pathologists in coordination with the classroom teacher to determine whether further auditory testing may be warranted. An audiologist uses this screening information and language testing with other educational assessments and medical history to help understand the reason for referral and the educational impact being reported. None of these screening tools are used to diagnose auditory processing disorders. These screening measures allow the educational team to gather valuable information regarding these skills prior to a referral for testing to help determine if a full audiological battery is suggested by the results. These screenings include, but are not limited to: Test for Auditory Processing Disorders in Children (SCAN 3 C/A) Differential Screening Test for Processing (DTSP) Fishers Checklist CLICK KERE Children’s Auditory Processing Scale( CHAPs) CLICK HERE

Valid and reliable testing for APD requires that : a student is at least 7-8 years of age because the variability in brain function is so marked in younger children that test interpretation may not be possible. b. the student has hearing within normal limits and c. the student has average intelligence d. the student’s child’s attention skills need to be within an average range, or if the child has ADD/ADHD it should be effectively managed. It is important to be confident that poor performance on the APD test battery is truly reflecting a child’s processing of auditory signals and not deficit in concentration or attention. Only a qualified audiologist can diagnose auditory disorders. The comprehensive battery of tests includes otoscopy, pure tone audiometry with speech reception threshold, word recognition testing, standard spondaic word (SSW) test, phonemic synthesis (PS) test, speech-in-noise (SN) test, random gap detection test (RGDT), and competing sentences test (CES) along with a review of additional language, cognitive, or academic achievement testing and medical history completed by the school district.

  • Reports and diagnosis presented to the district IEP team outside of the general education MTSS or special education processes can provide valuable information for the school district to consider; however, best practice requires that in order to formally diagnose APD, this outside evaluation must be completed by an audiologist and include more than screening measures and accompanying language or achievement testing. If the team reviews an outside evaluation and determines a referral to the TCSE contractual audiologist is needed to confirm a diagnosis, parental consent should be obtained and routed to the TCSE Audiological Coordinator. The team may use the information provided in an outside evaluation to make recommendations for gen.ed. accommodations or modifications to an existing IEP without a formal diagnosis.
Hearing Referrals (Failed School District Threshold Screening)

HEARING TEST: Referral to Audiologist


When a student fails 2 hearing screenings and also meets the criteria for a failed hearing threshold, two things happen.

1. A medical referral using the "Treating Physician's Report" is made to the family by the person who complete the screening Treating Physician's Report

AND 2. an educational screening should also take place.

When a school district chooses to pursue a referral for audiological testing based on a. the information returned through the medical referral "Treating Physician's Report" AND b. the educational screening conducted by the district to ensure they have identified any educational concerns, parental consent must be obtained to process through TCSE contractual audiologist. There are other options and sources listed on the main page for parents who wish to pursue ENT or hearing g testing on their own. See below *if educational concerns have been identified at an INA meeting for special education evaluation , the hearing test request and consent would be part of that process)

PARENT CONSENT is obtained using the Referral Form below. The "Treating Physician's Report" AND any educational concerns identified must also be attached for the audiologist to review.

Hearing Referral and Parental Consent Form (*for referrals outside of Spec Ed INA / evaluation )

OPTION 2 A hearing test referral for known or suspected hearing loss that is discussed as part of a special education testing referral is documented / requested through the INA domain meeting when parental consent is obtained. The referral is then routed to the TCSE Audiology Coordinator.


Who is qualified to complete vision and hearing screenings? Here is the school code

Mandated screening services must be provided by vision and hearing screening technicians trained and certified by the Department.  Candidates must meet the prerequisite requirements in order to apply and be considered for training.  In order to become certified, eligible candidates are required to attend and pass hearing and vision training courses conducted by the Department and pay the applicable fees.  Certificates are valid for a period of three years and must be renewed by complying with recertification requirements and paying the applicable fee.**

If you are interested in having a staff member in your school district trained to provide vision and hearing screenings, administrators may contact the Illinois Department of Public Health at 217-524-2396 for more information OR

District Administrators can submit a request for training by email to dph.visionandhearing@illinois.gov

Include Your Name, title, phone number, # of schools in your district, # of currently certified screeners, and any significant changes to your district screeners ( ex: we had 2 and they retired etc) .

The request will go for review and someone will contact you back with info and a training session the individual can join !