New syndrome: Audible delays?

Does anybody know what is meant by “audible delays?”

According to a newspaper report by Bethany Hart who writes for the Washington Court House (OH, US) Record-Hearald, a woman named Tanya Cottrell noticed her child “was learning things in school a bit slower than the other children. He was diagnosed [with] having audible delays which is considered a learning disability.”

Mayhaps Ms. Cottrell or Ms. Hart misheard “auditory” as “audible.” But, then, what are “auditory delays?” Either one is a new Learning Disability in my understanding of the area. If Ms. Cottrell was told either term, what educational professional created this diagnosis? Regardless of whether the administrator, teacher, psychologist, or other educator said “audible” or “auditory,” if someone simply made up this diagnosis, even for heartfelt and caring reasons, that action is inappropriate. It misleads a parent, misrepresents a discipline…it’s just low.

Although I subscribe to and at least skim many academic journals related to Learning Disabilities, I haven’t encountered any scholarly discussion of “auditory delay.” Thinking I might have missed something, I conducted a quick search for “auditory delay”; all I found were journal articles referring to music, electrical audio equipment, hearing aides, and the like.

Ms. Hart’s article, “Jeffersonville Woman to appear on ’60 Minutes’ Sunday,” makes this slightly frightening. If Ms. Cottrell has been told that her son has “audible delays” and she relays this information on a television show watched by millions of people, Learning Disabilities will have a new problem with which to contend. Either there is this new syndrome, audible delays, in which case we’ll need to rewrite the textbooks, or there is another round of misinformation that will need to be countered.

Here’s hoping that the 60 Minutes reporter covering the story has completed fact-checking and clarifies the diagnosis.

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