The assessment comprises two parts:
- Sentence length recall
- Digit span
The sentence length recall is affected by both familiarity with language, as well as the child’s rate of development. This has clear implications for length of instructions. The sentences in the test are simple in grammatical structure and syntax, so if children cannot recall 8-word sentences then if they were faced with less familiar or more complex language their effective sentence length recall would be less.
The digit span gives an indication of recall of unrelated pieces of information such as number of instructions, items on a list, sounds in a word, or different ideas in an answer.
The assessment within the APAK is a screening test identifying those at risk and provides an assessment of how they are functioning. For example, children who are unfamiliar with the language may perform poorly on sentence length but perform at an age-appropriate level on the digit span. If parents and teachers take this into account when communicating with them, the children can progress rapidly in their learning of the new language and ‘catch up’ with the sentence length score over a year or two. If they are delayed in both digit span and sentence length the learning of a new language is more difficult and the strategies need to be in place longer.
Children come for assessment for concerns about inattentiveness, ‘not listening’, disruptive behavior, poor language development, poor progress in literacy development, school refusal etc. As part of the general assessment, it is very commonly found that these children are delayed in development in this area and this has a major impact on many aspects of learning, including language and literacy development. This test does not provide a diagnosis of central auditory processing (CAP) but those with such difficulty inevitably do not do well on these assessments. CAP requires specialized audiological assessment.
The assessment is simple. The implications for management are obvious, and for many common conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Speech and Language delay, Mild Intellectual Disability, isolated difficulty with processing auditory information in children with normal intelligence or in children with a functional delay due to lack of familiarity with the language, the management strategies are necessary, but may not be sufficient, in the overall management.