APD Interventions: Prosodic Deficit

Prosodic Deficit affects the right hemisphere of the brain and will often impact musicality.

Social concerns, depression, difficulty with allocation of attention and topic maintenance, and visual spatial difficulties are often seen when one has a Prosodic Deficit. These difficulties come from dysfunction in the right hemisphere of the brain. Prosodic Deficit may be categorized as a nonverbal learning disability in the schools.

When one has a prosodic deficit, they will have more difficulty understanding the intent of a message rather than the content.

Children with a prosodic deficit will not modulate their voices to reflect rhythm, tone or stress. Likewise, they are unable to recognize such modulations in other people's voices. This is a fundamental skill for good communication so this type of auditory processing disorder is commonly accompanied by social problems. Sarcasm, jokes, and other subtle messages may be lost in translation and lead to frequent misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

For example:

Did you REALLY! see a moose? (indicating surprise)  vs. Did you really see a moose? (indicating skepticism). Difference in intonation of speech- used for determining whether a sentence is a question or a statement and for use in understanding when someone is being sarcastic.

He saw the snowdrift by the window vs. He saw the snow drift by the window.

(Difference in rhythm of speech)

Did you find out her address?  vs. Did she address the court?

(Difference in stress)

Prosodic Deficit will also affect musicality; staying in time to a rhythm or on pitch is difficult; they may dislike music or be described as unable to “carry a tune.”

Prosodic Deficit is diagnosed by an audiologist based on the pattern of findings on a battery of auditory processing tests.

Appropriate Interventions for Prosodic Deficit may include:

  • Placement with animated teachers.  
  • Temporal patterning and prosody training.
  • Pragmatic training with emphasis on theory of mind (the ability to understand how different beliefs, motivations, knowledge and moods affect our own behavior as well as the behavior of those around us) and perspective taking (our ability to relate with others, empathize with them and see things from their perspective. In order to do this we must be able to perceive what their motivations are as well as their feeling and thoughts. An example of this would be concluding that someone is upset by noticing tears in their eyes or that their eyebrows are furrowed.)
  • Use of Interactive Metronome training.
  • Psychological counseling for social concerns and possible depression symptoms.
  • Children with Prosodic Deficit may require vision therapy, math tutoring, and/or speech language therapy for pragmatic training.
  • Attribution training (if motivation concerns are present). The basic principle of attribution theory as it applies to motivation is that a person's own perceptions or attributions for success or failure determine the amount of effort the person will expend on that activity in the future.
  • Whole body listening techniques:
    • eyes to look at the person talking
    • ears to hear what is being said
    • mouth by remaining quiet
    • hands by keeping them by their side or in lap
    • feet by placing them on the floor and keeping them still
    • body by facing the speaker or sitting in chair
    • brain to think about what the speaker is saying
    • heart to care about what the speaker talks about
  • Use of mnemonic devices.
  • Self-reflection and journaling.
  • Placement in a multisensory learning environment.

Not every person with Prosodic Deficit will need every intervention on this list; appropriate evaluation and diagnosis are critical for putting the necessary recommendation and interventions in place for success.


Ferre, Jeanane. (nd) Subtypes of Auditory Processing Disorders. CAPD Support. Accessed 03/09/2015 from http://www.capdsupport.org/Diagnosis/subtypes-of-auditory-processing-disorder-apd.html.

Sautter, Elizabeth (11/09/2012). Teaching Children The Skills For Whole Body Listening. Communication Works. Accessed 03/09/2015 from http://www.cwtherapy.com/teachingchildrentheskillsforwholebodylistening/

Ferre, J. (2006). Management strategies for APD. In: Parthasarathy, T. (ed) An Introduction to Auditory Processing Disorders in Children. Mahwah: Laurence Erlbaum Associates, 161-183.

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