The practices, challenges and recommendations of South African audiologists regarding managing children with auditory processing disorders.S Afr J Commun Disord. 2016 Jun 09; 63(1)SA
Audiologists managing children with auditory processing disorders (APD) encounter challenges that include conflicting definitions, several classification profiles, problems with differential diagnosis and a lack of standardised guidelines. The heterogeneity of the disorder and its concomitant childhood disorders makes diagnosis difficult. Linguistic and cultural issues are additional challenges faced by South African audiologists. The study aimed to describe the practices, challenges and recommendations of South African audiologists managing children with APD. A quantitative, non-experimental descriptive survey was used to obtain data from 156 audiologists registered with the Health Professions of South Africa. Findings revealed that 67% screened for APD, 42% assessed while 43% provided intervention. A variety of screening and assessment procedures were being administered, with no standard test battery identified. A range of intervention strategies being used are discussed. When the relationship between the number of years of experience and the audiologists' level of preparedness to practice in the field of APD was compared, a statistically significant difference (p = 0.049) was seen in that participants with more than 10 years of experience were more prepared to practice in this area. Those participants having qualified as speech-language therapists and audiologists were significantly more prepared (p = 0.03) to practice than the audiologists who comprised the sample. Challenges experienced by the participants included the lack of linguistically and culturally appropriate screening and assessment tools and limited normative data. Recommendations included reviewing the undergraduate audiology training programmes, reinstituting the South African APD Taskforce, developing linguistically and culturally appropriate normative data, creating awareness among educators and involving them in the multidisciplinary team.