Auditory Processing Disorder Under IDEA I only recently had the opportunity to read the September 2014 issue. I was pleased to read the article regarding the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to identify auditory processing disorders as “Other Health Impairment.” As a professional who specializes in APD, I am glad the courts have finally ... Inbox
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Inbox  |   May 01, 2015
Auditory Processing Disorder Under IDEA
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Hearing Disorders / School-Based Settings / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Inbox
Inbox   |   May 01, 2015
Auditory Processing Disorder Under IDEA
The ASHA Leader, May 2015, Vol. 20, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN1.20052015.4
The ASHA Leader, May 2015, Vol. 20, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN1.20052015.4
I only recently had the opportunity to read the September 2014 issue. I was pleased to read the article regarding the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to identify auditory processing disorders as “Other Health Impairment.”
As a professional who specializes in APD, I am glad the courts have finally identified that children with auditory processing deficits can have significant learning and educational problems requiring services and accommodations provided under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. However, this decision is far behind the times. Since the inception of the special education laws in 1975, APD has been identified as a specific learning disability, defined as a “disorder” affecting understanding or use of spoken or written language that may manifest in the “imperfect ability to listen” or think, speak, read, write, spell or do math.
So, if a student has been identified as having learning problems, and test results support an auditory processing disorder diagnosis, the educational label should be specific learning disability rather than other health impairment. School districts often see OHI as requiring only accommodations, while SLDs require accommodations and direct services, including speech-language treatment.
It is good that courts are finally identifying APDs as educational problems, but they are not seeing that such problems are specific learning disabilities. I hope that professionals will use this information and this IDEA definition of SLD to obtain a free and appropriate public education for students identified with auditory processing disorders.
Jay R. Lucker, Washington, D.C.

Thank you for your clarification of this issue. ASHA is following related developments in jurisdictions outside of the Ninth Circuit, which comprises nine Western states and two U.S. territories.

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May 2015
Volume 20, Issue 5