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what is auditory discrimination

An auditory discrimination test is a screening or diagnostic assessment tool designed to identify and diagnose deficits in auditory discrimination.

Auditory discrimination is a central auditory processing skill that involves the ability to differentiate among phonemes—the smallest significant units of sound in a language. Phonemes are combined into words. For example the word “goes” is made up of three phonemes: “g,” “oh,” and “zzz.” Auditory discrimination is part of phonology which, in turn, is one of the five components of language.

Auditory discrimination tests (ADTs) are one type of auditory analysis tests, which are used to measure how well a child understands speech and the spoken word. ADTs are designed to measure a child’s phonological awareness—the ability to focus on and manipulate phonemes within spoken words. Phonological awareness skills include the ability to do the following:

compare and contrast speech sounds
separate and blend phonemes
identify phonemes within spoken words
combine phonemes into spoken words
ADTs measure a child’s ability to detect subtle similarities and differences between speech sounds. Two of the most commonly used ADTs are Wepman’s Auditory Discrimination Test (WADT) and the Goldman-Fristoe-Woodcock Test of Auditory Discrimination.

Auditory discrimination skills are very important in the classroom. Activities that require auditory discrimination skills include the following:

following directions
reading
writing
spelling