Elusive, Inclusive, or Conclusive? (Central) Auditory Processing Disorder

  • Susan Oliff Carneol


At age 4, Michelle was a cheerful and creative little girl, but something set her apart from her peers. She had an unremarkable birth history, had been relatively healthy, and achieved her early speech, language, and motor milestones within age expectations. Despite these positive indicators, her parents felt a nagging concern about her that they could not identify. Michelle's paternal uncle had a history of learning and behavior difficulties, but her parents felt that his problems were different than hers. As a preschooler, she was immature, inattentive, and impulsive compared with other children of her age. She had difficulty maintaining eye contact and following directions, and did not always respond when her name was called. She often lacked energy to complete physical activities expected for her age. Her parents' suspicions were somewhat confirmed when Michelle did not do well on the language and motor portions of a kindergarten screening. This prompted their quest to find out what was causing her developmental and social difficulties. Over the course of the next 5 years, she underwent two neuropsychological evaluations, three comprehensive Individualized Education Program (IEP) assessments, as well as informal assessments by academic tutors. None of the testing resulted in a satisfactory diagnosis.


Language Impairment Word Retrieval Individualize Education Program Central Auditory Processing Slow Processing Speed 
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Resources for Clinicians

  1. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2005). (Central) Auditory Processing Disorders [Technical report]. Available at
  2. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2005). (Central Auditory Processing Disorders— the Role of the Audiologist [Position statement]. Available at
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Resources for Families

  1. American Academy of Audiology. 11730 Plaza America Drive, Suite 3000. Reston, VA 20190. Toll Free: (800) 222–2336 at
  2. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. 10801 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. Toll free: (800) 638–8244 at
  3. National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Oliff Carneol
    • 1
  1. 1.Children's Hospital of WisconsinMilwaukee

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