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Differential Screening Test for Processing (DSTP)
Ages: 6-12   Grades: 1-7

Determine if your student has difficulty with auditory processing, difficulty with language processing, or a combination of the two. 

Test Set
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Differential Screening Test for Processing Test Forms (20)
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Test Purpose
The DSTP is the only test of its kind to differentiate among the various levels of auditory and language processing and identifies areas for referral or further evaluation.

The DSTP is a screening instrument to assist professionals in determining if additional diagnostic assessment is warranted and the specific areas of focus for further testing.


Test Description
The subtest areas of the DSTP represent the neurological continuum of processing acoustic stimuli.

Critical skills are evaluated in three major levels: acoustic, acoustic-linguistic, and linguistic.

Test vocabulary was carefully chosen to be within the linguistic capabilities of the target population.



Level One – Acoustic Subtests

  • A: Dichotic Digits
    Binaural integration skills are sampled at a cortical level.  The student listens to four numbers presented simultaneously, two to each ear, and repeats them.  The task relies upon the ability of the two hemispheres to communicate with each other.
  • B: Temporal Patterning
    This subtest examines right hemisphere-based auditory pattern recognition skills.  The student is asked to recognize acoustic patterns of tone sequences and identify which tones are high and low.
  • C: Auditory Discrimination
    This subtest probes left-hemisphere-based acoustic analysis skills.  The student discriminates and repeats nonsense syllables presented within a background of steady-state noise.

Level Two – Acoustic-Linguistic Subtests

  • Subtest D: Phonemic Manipulation
    This subtest consists of three tasks to see if the student can discriminate sound components within a linguistic signal: recognizing the number of discrete sounds in words, blending discrete phonemes into a word, and changing or modifying specific discrete phonemes.
  • Subtest E: Phonic Manipulation
    The initial stages of sound-symbol association are examined with three tasks: spelling words with letter tiles, synthesizing sounds into a correctly spelled word, and modifying the visual representation of sounds heard.

Level Three – Linguistic Subtests

  • Subtest F: Antonyms
    Examine your student's acquisition of the semantic language concept of opposite by asking him to supply the opposite meaning of a word.  This discrete language task requires quick and accurate retrieval of words.
  • Subtest G: Prosodic Interpretation
    This subtest requires the student to attach meaning beyond the words spoken.  The student "reads between the lines" to determine the sincerity of the message.
  • Subtest H: Language Organization
    Examine the ability to retrieve language ideas, organize thoughts, and recognize salient aspects of a message.  The student hears clues and uses them to generate a response.  Then, the student looks at a picture and generates clues that are focused and pertinent.

Examiner Qualifications
This screening test should be administered only by a trained professional familiar with the differential aspects of auditory and language skills involved neurologically in processing tasks.


Test Procedures

  • The DSTP is administered via directions presented by the narrator on a CD.  Present each task and every item to the student. Basals and ceilings are not used.
  • Subtests A, B, and C require both the test examiner and the student to wear headphones.  A Y-cord adapter, included with the test, allows the examiner and the student to hear the instructions, demo items, and test items.
  • Subtests D, E, F, and G use the CD without the headphones.
  • Subest H uses the CD (without headphones) and eight picture cards.

Testing Time

  • 35 minutes

Scoring/Types of Scores
Each item is scored as a 1 or 0.  Scores for each Subtest are totaled and compared to the Subtest Pass/Fail Raw Scores to determine if further testing is needed.  Means, medians, and standard scores are in the Test Manual.


Discussion of Performance
The Discussion of Performance section found in the Examiner's Manual was developed to guide the examiner to make appropriate and relevant recommendations for further testing.

This section includes information on how to interpret test results and a summary of performance possibilities the clinician can use to make decisions regarding a subsequent course of action.

Recommendations for the types of additional evaluations are given based on poor performance in each subtest.  Poor performance on each subtest is related to the difficulties you might observe the student having in the classroom.


Standardization and Statistics
The DSTP was normed on 509 subjects that represented the 2000 National Census for race, gender, age, and educational placement.

  • Reliability—determined by the test-retest method and revealed satisfactory levels for all tasks at all age levels. Reliability tests include: SEM and Test-retest.
  • Validity—established by the use of contrasted groups which revealed good test validity for the three auditory subtests.  Biserial Correlations and Subtest and Total Test intercorrelations were not reported as each subtest is considered to assess a discreet skill of processing along a hierarchy and should not be scored as a measure of performance on the whole test.
  • Content Validity—established after an extensive review of available tests and literature which indicated that the particular subtests and skills selected were those reflective of auditory language processing demands of elementary-aged students.

Copyright © 2006

Test Set includes: examiner's manual, 20 test forms, 2 headphones, Y-cord adapter, CD-ROM, 12 letter tiles, 8 full-color picture cards

Warning: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts, not for children under 3 yrs.
  • According to ASHA (2005) (central) auditory processing disorder [(C)APD] refers to difficulties in the processing of auditory information in the central nervous system (CNS) as demonstrated by poor performance in one or more of the following skills:
    • sound localization and lateralization
    • auditory discrimination
    • auditory pattern recognition
    • temporal aspects of audition, including temporal integration, temporal discrimination, temporal ordering, and temporal masking
    • auditory performance in competing acoustic signals (including dichotic listening)
    • auditory performance with degraded acoustic signals
  • The diagnosis of processing disorders is based on the underlying principle of neuropsychology as all behavior is mediated by the brain and central nervous system; the study of brain-behavior relationships accepts a causal association between the two.  It is important to have knowledge of the mediating structures when perceiving functional impairments in behavior (Hynd & Obrzut, 1981).
  • Luria (1970) showed a model of brain organization that states the brain is organized so that each structure has a highly specific role, but all structures are under coordinated control.  This functional unit organization theory stresses that the areas all work together, as well as independently.

Differential Screening Test for Processing incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2005). (Central) auditory processing disorders—The role of the audiologist [Position Statement]. Retrieved February 24, 2010, from

Hynd, G., & Obrzut, J. (1981). Neuropsychological assessment and the school-age child. New York: Grune & Stratton.

Luria, A.R. (1970). The functional organization of the brain. Scientific American, 222, 66-78.


Gail J. Richard, Jeanane M. Ferre


Gail J. Richard, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is a professor and chair in the Department of Communication Disorders & Sciences at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.  Gail's teaching at the university and in workshops around the country focuses on childhood developmental language disorders, especially the autistic spectrum, processing disorders, learning disabilities, medical syndromes, and selective mutism.  Prior to 25 years in the university setting, Gail worked in the public schools, serving preschool through high schoolaged students.  She especially enjoys the diagnostic challenge of differentiating among the various aspects of developmental disorders.

Professional awards include being named as a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Distinguished Alumnus of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and Eastern Illinois University, and five Faculty Excellence Awards.  She has served on the ASHA Legislative Council since 1991, and as an NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative since 1994, currently appointed to the NCAA Division I Management Council.

This is Gail's third test with LinguiSystems.  She is also the co-author of Differential Assessment of Autism and Other Developmental Disorders (DAADD) with Lynn Calvert, and The Language Processing Test 3 with Mary Anne Hanner.  Gail has also published several books in the LinguiSystems' Source series.  Previous publications with LinguiSystems include The Source for Autism, The Source for Treatment Methodologies in Autism, and The Source for Processing Disorders.  Co-authored publications include The Source for Syndromes and The Source for Syndromes 2 with Debra Reichert Hoge, The Source for ADD/ADHD with Joy L. Russell, The Source for Development of Executive Functions with Jill K. Fahy, and The Language Processing Kit with Mary Anne Hanner.

Jeanane M. Ferre, Ph.D., CCC-A, received her Ph.D. in Audiology from Northwestern University in 1984 and has been on the faculty of Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, and Rush University-Medical Center.  A nationally recognized expert on children's central auditory processing disorders, Jeanane has published numerous articles in peer reviewed journals; authored several chapters; and given over 200 presentations at the local, state, national, and international levels on CAP and CAPD.

Her works include Processing Power – A Guide to CAPD Assessment and Treatment (The Psychological Corporation), "The M3 Model for Treating Auditory Disorders" in the textbook CAPD: Mostly Management (Allyn and Bacon), and "Managing Auditory Processing Disorders" in the Handbook of Clinical Audiology (5th ed.) (Lipincott,Williams, and Wilkens).  She is the co-author of the Bellis-Ferre model for diagnosing central auditory processing disorders in children.

Jeanane is currently in private practice in the Chicago metropolitan area, providing evaluation and treatment of central auditory processing disorders among children and adults.  Her current research interests include treatment efficacy for specific central auditory deficits and screening for CAPD.  Jeanane is a Fellow of the Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the 1997 recipient of ISHA's Clinical Achievement Award, and a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

This is Jeanane's first publication with LinguiSystems.