Prevalence of dichotic deficits in adjudicated adolescents: Implications for language skills and competency within the juvenile justice system

Main Article Content

Deborah Moncrieff, Ph.D. Katherine Rehling Graham Mendez


This study reports the prevalence of dichotic listening weaknesses in 10-18-year-old adjudicated adolescents and its potential impact on their language skills. The findings reveal that 35% of adjudicated adolescents exhibited matched dichotic deficit patterns sufficient to diagnose an APD, a prevalence rate that is higher than the 19% rate among age-matched typically developing children but lower than the 45% rate among age-matched children evaluated clinically for an auditory processing disorder (APD). These rates for all groups are significantly higher than the 2-7% prevalence rate commonly reported for APD in the pediatric population. The study also identified a link between low scores on dichotic listening tests and language deficits, suggesting potentially negative consequences for successful navigation through the juvenile justice system for these adolescents.

These results challenge the sustained underestimation of auditory processing risks in children and advocate for early identification and treatment of common processing deficits, emphasizing the need for consensus among researchers and clinicians in identifying and treating them. The implications of untreated auditory processing deficit on educational achievement, language skills, and behavior in adjudicated adolescents are discussed, emphasizing how they contribute to the schools-to-prison pipeline in the United States (U.S.). The study concludes by suggesting that early intervention through an evidence-based short-term auditory training protocol can improve dichotic listening and may alleviate some long-term educational underachievement and dysregulated behaviors associated with juvenile incarceration. The findings underscore the need for increased awareness, screening, and intervention for dichotic listening deficits in general and particularly in the at-risk, underserved pediatric populations world-wide.

Keywords: juvenile justice system, Implications for language skills and competency within the juvenile justice system, Prevalence of dichotic deficits in adjudicated adolescents

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MONCRIEFF, Deborah; MENDEZ, Katherine Rehling Graham. Prevalence of dichotic deficits in adjudicated adolescents: Implications for language skills and competency within the juvenile justice system. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 3, mar. 2024. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 13 apr. 2024. doi:
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