Central Auditory Processing Disorder

What is Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)?
Children with CAPD have difficulties processing the information they hear, despite having normal hearing abilities. The ears and the brain do not work together as well as they should. These children have issues understanding language, especially in noisy environments.

Symptoms of CAPD:

  • • Difficulties processing sounds and attending to messages.
    • Often misunderstands instructions.
    • Taking longer than expected to respond to verbal questions.
    • Poor musical abilities.
    • Attention issues.
    • Difficulties with reading, spelling, writing and phonics (matching sounds to letters).

Environmental Modifications:
Modifications by the speaker and strategies for the child may improve perception of auditory information.

  • Decrease background noise.
  • Provide a quiet work environment at school, with minimal distractions.
  • Some children may benefit from having ear plugs to reduce noise.
  • Have only one person talking at a time.
  • Use of an FM system to amplify teacher or parent speech.

Speaker Strategies:

  • Be sure you have the child’s attention before you speak.
  • Introduce the topic before giving details.
  • Use gestures and visual cues to aid comprehension.
  • Slow your speech rate and pause before important points.
  • Use short simple direct commands.
  • Allow extra time for the child to process
  • Repeat or rephrase when appropriate

Child / Listener Strategies:

  • Face the speaker, watch their facial expressions and lip movements for extra cues.
  • Repeat the information heard to help remember and to clarify.
  • Ask for repetitions and clarification when needed.

Counselling and or discussing the disorder with the child is helpful. They need to understand the problem and the strategies in order to use them appropriately.

NOTE: OAFCCD recommends that you seek the advice of a Speech – Language Pathologist to get further information and advice that is specific to your child.

This article originally appeared in the September 2001 OAFCCD Newsletter.

Reviewed 2019

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