Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD, is an irregularity in how the central nervous system uses auditory, or sound, information. While other disorders, such as ADHD or autism, can affect how well a child is able to listen or comprehend, they do not usually affect the nervous system’s ability to process sound and so are not labeled CAPDs. CAPDs seem to have a neurological basis, and make it difficult to receive, remember, understand, and use auditory information.

How can I help my child with an auditory processing disorder?

Because the symptoms of an auditory processing disorder are often similar to those of a range of other problems, it’s not possible to pinpoint an auditory problem without testing by an audiologist. But if your child seems to have trouble understanding what people are saying in a noisy restaurant, or following directions, or taking in what his teacher is saying, then you my have some clues.

Often a child with an auditory processing difficulty will also have trouble processing language. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) will assess language processing and listening skills and start treatment. The child may also be referred to an audiologist for the audiological testing needed to have an accurate diagnosis. The audiologist, then, will design a treatment plan, some of which may be done with an audiologist and some of which may be completed with a speech-language pathologist. The audiologist or SLP will help you plan for accommodations at school and elsewhere, and they will help your child find ways to compensate with other skills.

Here at CTS, our SLPs help to design a treatment plan for your child based on the audiologist’s diagnosis and recommendations. Your child’s treatment may consist of work with a computer-based program, or of training with the therapist. The treatment may be done at home or it may require therapy sessions at school or in our clinic.

At school, your child may benefit from an electronic listening device, or the therapist may suggest things your child’s teacher can do to help your child understand him better or deal with a noisy classroom.

Ways to compensate may include strengthening other cognitive skills to help overcome the auditory problem, or a slate of active listening and problem-solving skills.