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Disability Information - Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)


General Information

Education & Classroom Accommodations

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Articles Related to this Disability

Medical Information

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General Information

What Is CAPD?
In simple terms, CAPD is defined as when a hearing person hears words spoken, but their brain can not process the words normally. Children with CAPD may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Have trouble associating sounds with their meanings

  • Verbally indicate that they don't understand

  • Not respond consistently to the same sounds

  • Misunderstand a lot

  • Want things repeated a lot

  • Be easily distracted

  • Have trouble following oral directions

  • Not receive or express language well

  • Have a slow response to verbal instructions

  • Make mistakes repeating things that are said to them

  • Have trouble remembering things they hear

The actual diagnosis is made by an audiologist, who determines that the child can indeed hear although the child may appear to have a hearing problem. 


Central Auditory Processing Disorder: When a hearing person is deaf or vice versa
When is a hearing person like a deaf person?

Answer: When they have a condition known as central auditory processing disorder (CAPD).

by Becca Lynn; parent of ASD child, CAPD sufferer
AUDITORY PROCESSING - is the ability to listen, comprehend, and respond to information that we hear through our auditory channels. This includes the detection of sound by the external ear and the transmission of sound through the auditory pathways to the brain.

Central Auditory Processing Problems

Education & Classroom Accommodations

Educational Strategies and Accommodations for Auditory Processing Difficulties
Consider the following:

Room Arrangement
o Minimize auditory distractions
o Isolate in separate part of room
o Give preferential seating

Lesson Presentation
o Use "pretuner" words such as "listen, read, begin"
o Ask student to repeat directions
o Use a visual approach to correct spelling errors
o Use flash cards for vocabulary and spelling words
o Use a high degree of visual cues and examples along with auditory information
o Keep directions brief
o Explain the meaning of vocabulary, check for understanding
o Use visual maps
o Highlight important information using colored highlighters
o Present only one or two tasks or directions at one time
o Use semantic story organizers and story maps
o Provide an overview of the "big picture."
o Use manipulatives whenever possible
o Demonstrate learning through projects, skits, discussions
o Act things out, create physical representations or make models
o Present vocabulary after concrete presentation/example
o Give short breaks from listening
o Allow study buddy to interpret directions
o Use small groups to facilitate acquisition of knowledge
o Allow to doodle in order to listen
o Consider using a microphone/amplification system
o Give "alert" cues when you are about to deliver input instructions
o Strengthen sight vocabulary
o Ask short questions
o Give visual cues/aids whenever possible
o Have student paraphrase directions
o Increase length of orally presented material as student demonstrates readiness
o Accept yes, no, maybe responses and increase length of response expected
o Teach vocabulary, idioms, sarcasm, etc.
o Teach paraphrasing, questioning, summarizing
o Select a peer scribe
o Vary pitch, tone, speed to help students listen closely
o Use overhead projector

o Develop use of consistent attention getting devices before giving an assignment
o Use word processor with spell checker
o Use books on tape when reading
o Use note taker in class; tape lectures, write notes later
o Provide written directions
o Keep directions brief
o Write assignments down for student (peer or teacher)
o Have students underline words they believe are misspelled
o Check calendars before student leaves class
o Have student write directions and teacher or peer checks for accuracy
o Use highlighter during reading assignments

Test Taking
o Read test directions, circle key words

Organization/Study Skills
o Use data/information cards (e.g., for job applications)
o Teach SQ3R approach (skim reading, skim questions, read, recite, review)
o Use daily assignment calendar
o Teach how to develop and maintain an organized notebook to aide in memory
o Teach outlining techniques and cognitive mapping
o Practice cumulative reviewing
o Practice sequencing dates, parts of essay, steps in math problems, etc.
o Use flash cards to study
o Have student write when memorizing
o Write directions given orally, teacher checks

Behavior/Training Programs
o Teach differences between extraneous noises and what needs to be the focus of attention
o Use frequent and tangible reinforcers
o Use ADD (Auditory Discrimination in Depth) program
o Teach visualizing and Verbalizing program
o Teach sound-symbol relationships
o Check for understanding in conversations
o Develop an individualized communication system (such as a private signal) for use when the student is frustrated or needs assistance
o Teach the use of key words and phrases such as who, what, where, when, why, and how much, therefore, in addition, consequently, next, finally, in conclusion, etc.
o Teach ability to describe disability, how to ask for accommodations

o Avoid foreign languages

Auditory Processing involves the ability to segment, analyze, and synthesize speech sounds. This type of processing deficit is often present in students who have spelling difficulties, as spelling requires phonemic segmentation (the ability to attend to the detailed sequence of sounds in words). Also, students with poor phonemic awareness are slow to develop word identification skill in reading. In addition to affecting the acquisition of reading decoding and spelling skill, severe auditory processing deficits may cause difficulty in interpreting lectures, understanding oral directions, and perceiving speech under distracting conditions.
Intervention strategies appropriate for a deficit in this area include:

Referral to the Speech/Language Clinician for a more comprehensive language assessment.

Depending upon age, language, and reading achievement level, the student may benefit from specific training in phonemic segmentation and sound blending.

For young students, encourage the use of games that manipulate the phonological structure of words, such as rhyming games and nursery rhymes.

Develop skill in phonological awareness through counting activities that progress from counting the number of words in a simple sentence, to the number of syllables in a word, to the number of sounds within a word.

If the auditory processing deficits are not remediable, recommend a nonphonic reading approach.

In severe cases, the student may need to be excused from foreign language study in elementary school and, if possible, be waived from the foreign language requirement at the secondary level.

Provide visual outlines and graphic organizers for tasks involving listening.

Give clear, direct instructions for all tasks, limited in length and complexity.

Do not penalize the student for difficulties in reading decoding or spelling.

Allow extra time for reading and writing activities.

Emphasize sound/symbol associations in teaching decoding and spelling.

Provide study guides for listening activities.

Provide assistance with note taking.


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Michigan Resources, Support Groups, Listservs & Websites

Berard Auditory Integration Training Systems (Berard AIT)
Years of professional experience -- personalized care -- programs to fit your needs and schedule.

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National Resources & Websites


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Articles Related to this Disability
Auditory Processing Disorder: He Can Hear You, But it Makes No Sense
Ben was a happy, playful baby—a delight to his whole family. But by the time he turned three, they could see that something was wrong. He couldn’t seem to make sense of people’s sentences; and in turn, he barely spoke words at all. And yet medical tests showed that his hearing was normal!
Medical Information

Central Auditory Processing Disorders
CAPDs are often characterized by a child having difficulty understanding speech or instructions in the presence of normal hearing sensitivity. They usually are noticed when the child is in an atmosphere of sensory overload. Too much is happening around the child and so the child cannot "process" the same information that other children process. This also can occur when the "redundancy" of the auditory information is reduced: when speakers cannot be seen, when the normal frequency content of speech is reduced, or especially when an ear infection produces a mild and temporary hearing loss.

What iS the Difference Between CAPD and AD/HD?
by Keri Spielvogle, M.C.D., CCC-SLP
Recently, there have been a lot of questions regarding the difference between two commonly diagnosed childhood disorders, CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder) and AD/HD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder). When should the child receive speech therapy? How can I help this child? What exactly are the symptoms of each? Am I doing the right thing?

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