OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the perspectives of professionals from the Dutch audiological centres on the definition and care pathways of children with suspected auditory processing disorders (susAPD).
DESIGN: focus group interviews.
STUDY SAMPLE: In total, 45 professionals from 6 disciplines, representing 22 different audiological centres and one ambulatory service, participated in five parallel focus group interviews. Participants had a variety of experience in diagnosing and advising children with suspected APD.
RESULTS: Qualitative analysis (open and thematic) identified four themes ("Definition", "Causes", "Diagnostic Procedures" and "Clinical Reasoning") expressing a variety of perspectives. Differences in perspectives were mainly affected by two debates: (1) whether or not APD exists as a pure (auditory) disorder and (2) whether or not current AP-tests are suitable in diagnosing children with listening difficulties. They also expressed a need for more guidance from the literature in their clinical decision making process.
CONCLUSIONS: Professionals from the Dutch audiological centres share a broad perspective on children with APD. The ICF framework supports this perspective, thereby diminishing the need for a clear definition. The use of AP-tests should be limited to children where broader developmental disorders are first ruled out; a possible "pure" APD could then be diagnosed in a limited number of children.