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Last Updated: 03/12/2018

Disability Information - Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)


General Information

Education & Classroom Accommodations

Michigan Resources, Support Groups, Listservs & Websites

National Resources & Websites

Articles Related to this Disability

Medical Information

Books & Videos

Personal Home Pages & Websites


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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).

Pay Attention! Coping With Central Auditory Processing Disorder
Central auditory processing disorder occurs when the ear and the brain do not coordinate fully. Assuming your child's hearing is good (and this should be verified by an audiologist), auditory information breaks down somewhere beyond the ear. The causes of CAPD are varied and can include head trauma, lead poisoning, possibly chronic ear infections - and unknown reasons. Because there are many different possibilities - even combinations of causes - each child has to be assessed on an individual basis.

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

Parents' Educational Resource Center, Parent Journal
Central auditory processing and how it relates to learning differences is an issue of increasing concern among parents who contact our Center. To better understand this subject, PERC asked professionals in the field to respond to some key questions. Janet Gennai-Rizzi, M.A., CCC-Sp, has been a speech and language therapist in private practice since 1984. She is a member of the Child Development Center of the North Bay. Phyllis Burt, M.A., CCC-A, is a state licensed and professional certified clinical audiologist. She has been specializing in central auditory processing since 1983. She is currently the director of audiology at Park Place Hearing Center in Petaluma.

CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder)
I have been diagnosed with CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder), which is a receptive language disorder which makes it difficult to process sounds, particularly speech sounds. Some forms of CAPD are referred to as "auditory dyslexia".

Central auditory processing disorder
Central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) is an impaired ability to recognize and comprehend auditory information. People with this disorder may have problems following directions and processing or comprehending information they hear. Environments with acoustic problems or background noise may exacerbate the problem.

Judith W. Paton, M. A., Audiologist
The easiest, quickest way to communicate is simply to say something and then deal with the other person's reply, right? Right, unless your listener has a CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder), then your remark might come through with certain words drowned out by other noises, or with some words sounding like different words or as meaningless strings of verbiage. You might begin to suspect this when the other person's expression doesn't register understanding, or if he,"answers the wrong question," or he asks you for additional information which most people would have been able to infer from what you just said.

Auditory Processing Disorder in Children: What Does It Mean?
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Children with APD often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even though the sounds themselves are loud and clear. For example, the request "Tell me how a chair and a couch are alike" may sound to a child with APD like "Tell me how a couch and a chair are alike." It can even be understood by the child as "Tell me how a cow and a hair are alike." These kinds of problems are more likely to occur when a person with APD is in a noisy environment or when he or she is listening to complex information.

Learning About CAPD
Dr. Teri James Bellis' Subprofiles (primary and secondary) of CAPD.

Visual and Auditory Processing Disorders
The National Center for Learning Disabilities
Visual and auditory processing are the processes of recognizing and interpreting information taken in through the senses of sight and sound. The terms, "visual and auditory processing" and "visual and auditory perception", are often used interchangeably. Although there are many types of perception, the two most common areas of difficulty involved with a learning disability are visual and auditory perception. Since so much information in the classroom and at home is presented visually and/or verbally, the child with an auditory or visual perceptual disorder can be at a disadvantage in certain situations. The following information describes these two types of disorders, their educational implications, some basic interventions and what to do if there is a suspected problem.

Auditory Integration Training, A Checklist for Parents
This checklist is designed to help parents or teachers access whether a child might be having problems with his or her auditory system (hearing, auditory processing or auditory integration).

Auditory Integration Training, A Checklist for Adults
This checklist is designed to help an adult access whether she might be having problems with her auditory system.

Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD)
By: Michael G. Conner, Psy.D, Clinical, Medical & Family Psychologist
One Cause of Attention Deficits, Defiance and School Failures.

CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorders)
A Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is defined as an observed deficiency in one or more of these behaviors: sound localization and lateralization, auditory discrimination, auditory pattern recognition, and temporal aspects of audition. These include, temporal resolution, temporal masking, temporal integration, temporal ordering, auditory performance decrements with competing acoustic signals, and auditory performance decrements with degraded acoustic signals. (ASHA, 1996)

CAPD Q & A with Dr. Jerome Schultz
Jerome J. Schultz, Ph.D.
In the public school system, is a Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) a choice? Our son has CAPD due to severe Otitis Media early in childhood. I worry that a lot of children are labeled LD that are not receiving specific strategies for CAPD because it is a new discovery. Not so much new -- just being recognized.

Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD)
By Dr. Michael Conner
One Cause of Attention Deficits, Defiance and School Failures.

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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.


Classroom Amplification Equipment
Compiled by Jean Clements
We are all in agreement that for a child to do well in school, she must be able to receive all auditory signals. If a child is known to have a hearing loss, we are quick to provide special devices to make the sound more audible or to provide special assistance to transform the audible signal into a visual signal. However, what happens to the average student in a typical classroom? It is assumed that all normal hearing students can hear. It is also assumed that if a child passes a standard hearing sensitivity test, she has no auditory difficulty. Unfortunately, these are an incorrect assumption.

Home Page of Classroom Acoustics
This web site is a resource for those concerned with meeting new standards for the acoustics of classrooms. It will be updated frequently with current events and information of interest to parents, educators, school planners, architects, school boards and others.

Quiet Classroom Experts in the Field

Teacher Tips - Hearing Aids/FM Systems

Learning Disorders and Home Schooling: Central Auditory Processing Disorder
by David Weathers
As home school parents, we have to know when we are in over our heads and when to seek help. It wasn't easy for us, there was some pressure to send him to a public school speech program, but we resisted (the whole point of home schooling, for us, was to avoid the institutionalization of traditional schools.) Despite skepticism, even now, we see his progress and know that we made the right decision.


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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

CAPD Message Board


Auditory Processing Disorder in the United Kingdom (APDUK)
Mission: To Promote a greater understanding about Auditory Processing Disorder, and other related Invisible Disabilities amongst both the General Public and the relavent Education and Health and Supportive Agencies.

AuditoryProcessing Yahoo Group
This list welcomes questions, comments, and the sharing of information about APD and related concerns.
The CAPD Listervs: Dr. Jay Lucker moderates the CAPD List and the CAPD-PRO List
The CAPD List is open to anyone with an interest in central auditory processing disorders. Join or Leave the CAPD list. The Archives of CAPD@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU can be searched by the CAPD list's subscribers. Messages posted to the list from February 1996 through the present are archived. The CAPD-PRO list limited to professionals. Join or Leave the CAPD-PRO List The Archives of the CAPD-PRO list can be viewed without subscribing to the list.
CAPD: From the Heart Chat/Support Group
This chat/support group is dedicated to the families and friends of anyone affected by Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD). Hopefully by joining this chat/support group you will find the answers you are looking for about CAPD, a friendly person to talk to or perhaps someone to listen. This chat/support group is open at all times to anyone who wants to stop in and visit. Below there is also a list of scheduled chats events.

Online Support Group
The NCAPD is proud to support an Online Support Group where parents and professionals can come together to share information.

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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.

CAPD/APD Age Restrictions
Barbara Roe Beck M.A. , CCC-A

Auditory processing abilities develop at different rates in different children. I tell parents to think of emerging auditory processing skills in the same way they think of other aspects of a child's development: some toddlers have greater verbal skills at an early age and others better motor coordination. However, by age six or seven years, these abilities have more or less ''equalized'' among typically-developing children. Even so, there will be kids with strengths and weaknesses in various areas, and parents should be aware of milestones against which to gauge individual progress.

Treatment For Central Auditory Processing Problems
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
One approach focuses on training certain auditory and listening skills such as auditory discrimination (e.g. telling the difference between peas and bees), localization of sound, sequencing sounds, or identifying a target sound in a noisy background.

Central Auditory Processing Disorders: An Overview of Assessment and Management Practices
Mignon M. Schminky and Jane A. Baran, Department of Communication Disorders, University of Massachusetts
Hearing is a complex process that is often taken for granted. As sounds strike the eardrum, the sounds (acoustic signals) begin to undergo a series of transformations through which the acoustic signals are changed into neural signals. These neural signals are then passed from the ear through complicated neural networks to various parts of the brain for additional analysis, and ultimately, recognition or comprehension. For most of us, when someone talks about hearing abilities, we think primarily of the processing that occurs in the ear; that is, the ability to detect the presence of sound. Likewise, when someone is described as having a hearing loss, we assume that this individual has lost all or part of the ability to detect the presence of sound. However, the ability to detect the presence of sounds is only one part of the processing that occurs within the auditory system. There are many individuals who have no trouble detecting the presence of sound, but who have other types of auditory difficulties (e.g., difficulties understanding conversations in noisy environments, problems following complex directions, difficulty learning new vocabulary words or foreign languages) that can affect their ability to develop normal language skills, succeed academically, or communicate effectively. Often these individuals are not recognized as having hearing difficulties because they do not have trouble detecting the presence of sounds or recognizing speech in ideal listening situations. Since they appear to “hear normally,” the difficulties these individuals experience are often presumed to be the result of an attention deficit, a behavior problem, a lack of motivation, or some other cause. If this occurs, the individual may receive medical and/or remedial services that do not address the underlying “auditory” problem.

Subprofiles of Central Auditory Processing Disorders
by Teri James Bellis, Northwestern University
It is this author’s contention that the difficulty in defining CAPD stems directly from the fact that, like all other learning, language, and communicative disorders, CAPDs are inherently heterogeneous in nature and, thus, elude precise definition. When one speaks of learning disabilities or language disorders, it is accepted that different permutations exist that result in vastly different behavioral manifestations, and that management will be directed toward the specific type of disorder and the individualized behavioral sequelae associated with the deficit. There is no reason to believe that CAPDs are any different. Thus, perhaps Katz’s (1992) definition of CAP as “what we do with what we hear” was not so far off, after all.

Central Auditory Test Battery
The central auditory test battery is very different from those used during traditional audiometric testing. Most tests of central auditory function involve speech stimuli that have been modified in some fashion to make their understanding more challenging. The goal in all evaluations is to identify a lack of ability in the processing of auditory information which would account for the individual's communication problems in his/her everyday listening environment.

Recognizing and Treating Children with Central Auditory Processing Disorders
Maxine L. Young, M.S., CCC-A/SLP, FAAA
Children and adults who have central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) are a heterogeneous group of people who have difficulty using auditory information to communicate and learn. CAPD is not a specific problem or disease; rather it is a set of problems that occur in different kinds of listening tasks. Often children with CAPD are first diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or learning disabilities.

Central Auditory Nervous System Function
A thorough understanding of the function of the central auditory nervous system (CANS) is critical so that proper diagnosis and management can be implemented. Each of the human senses have special areas of representation in the brainstem and brain. The auditory system provides perhaps the most important of those sensory systems since it affords us with a means of verbal communication.

Virtual Tour of the Ear

Auditory processing disorder: An overview for the clinician
Gail D. Chermak

Underlying APD is a deficit observed in one or more of the auditory processes responsible for generating the auditory evoked potentials and the following behaviors: sound localization and lateralization; auditory discrimination; auditory pattern recognition; temporal aspects of audition, including temporal resolution, temporal masking, temporal integration, and temporal ordering; auditory performance with competing acoustic signals; and auditory performance with degraded acoustic signals.

(QUIZ) Does Your Child Have CAPD?,1399,23-25797,00.html
Is your child struggling in school? Does he have poor listening skills and difficulty following directions or understanding speech? Is he inattentive? Perhaps he has a central auditory processing disorder. Answer these questions to determine if you should have him evaluated. But remember, kids naturally exhibit many of these characteristics some of the time. It's when they consistently exhibit these signs that you need to take action.

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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Books & Videos

"Words Fail Me": How Language Works and What Happens When It Doesn't
by Priscilla L. Vail
Midwest Book Review: Parents, educators and general-interest readers will relish a fine book which surveys how language develops in kids. Why isn't language developing for so many? This explores links between reading, writing, listening and speaking, revealing how these are learned and what happens in the process breaks down at various stages.

When the Brain Can't Hear : Unraveling the Mystery of Auditory Processing Disorder
by Teri James Bellis (Author)
APD has been called the auditory equivalent of dyslexia, and its debilitatiting effects cross all ages, genders, and races. APD can cause children to fail in school and adults to suffer socially and in their careers, but until now, there has been little information available.
Written by Dr. Teri James Bellis, one of the world's foremost authorities on APD, this is the first book on the subject that is completely accessible to the public. Through helpful checklists and case studies, you'll finally discover the answers you need, as well as proven strategies for living with APD. Comprehensive and powerfully prescriptive, this book contains vital information for anyone who suffers from this serious disorder.

Central Auditory Processing Disorders: Mostly Management
by M. Gay Masters, G. Master, Nancy A. Stecker, Jack Katz
Professionals in audiology, speech-language pathology, and psychology offer the latest information available on a variety of compatible approaches to the management of central auditory processing disorders (CAPD). They give a neuroscience view of auditory training/stimulation as it relates to CAPD.

A Language Yardstick: Understanding & Assessment
by Priscilla L. Vail

Assessment and Management of Central Auditory Processing Disorders in the Educational Setting: From Science to Practice
by Teri James Bellis
Provides the reader with an interpretation of central auditory processing disorders that is both scientific and clinical. The information is presented in an easy to read and understand format. This book is ideal for practicing clinicians who are looking for a review of this complex subject. The text is clearly presented to aid the learning process, with learning objectives set out at the beginning of each chapter, and the inclusion of lots of tables, key notes boxes and highlighted sentences.

Like Sound Through Water : A Mother's Journey Through Auditory Processing Disorder
by Karen Foli (Author)

Ben was a bright, happy little boy. Yet he was easily distracted, he wouldn't make eye contact, and he couldn't comprehend the simplest things said to him. At age three he still hadn't started talking. Finally, Karen Foli knew she had to act, and she took her son to a speech and hearing clinic. What the clinicians reported chilled her: Ben's speech and language were delayed by one to two years. Testing results and speech therapists suggested problems that included the words "probably retarded and perhaps autistic." But Karen, trusting her mother's intuition, knew that Ben was intelligent and that he was frustrated by his inability to communicate, so she continued to try to help her son. She discovered that he possessed the hallmarks of auditory processing disorder, the aural equivalent of dyslexia. Like Sound Through Water is the story of Karen's struggle to get Ben the help he needed to learn the most basic skill of all: to communicate with the world. She ran the gauntlet of medical disbelievers and pediatric therapists who refused to understand the very new Žndings of auditory processing disorder. Even her husband, a psychiatrist specializing in children's afžictions, had never heard of APD. Despite this, he kept a steadfast faith in his son. Now, after years of intensive treatment for APD, Ben is an academically successful, hardworking little boy with a bright future to look forward to. Like Sound Through Water is a testament to a mother's love and her devotion to her son's care; it is also an instructive journey for those who are discovering the world of APD and a guidebook to negotiating the land mines of its treatment. Above all, it is a beautifully written tale of hope and optimism. –

Central Auditory Processing Disorders: New Perspectives
by Gail D. Chermak, Frank E. Musiek, Chie Higuchi Craig

Washington State Univ., Pullman. Text linking the neurobiology of central auditory processing with language and cognitive systems. For professionals. Softcover.

Handbook of Central Auditory Processing Disorders in Children
by Jack Willeford

Software: SoundSmart®
by Joseph A. Sandford Ph.D. & Ann Turner, M.D.
SoundSmart was designed by a clinical psychologist and a psychiatrist to help improve phonemic awareness, listening skills, working memory, mental processing speed, and self-control. These game-like brain-training exercises speak to the user in a realistic human voice, making the individual feel as if they are playing a real person who encourages, praises, and challenges them to do their best.

The Listening Program TM
The Listening ProgramTM is a sound stimulation auditory therapy program consisting of eight specially developed Compact Discs (CDs) conveniently bound together with the 9-part Instructional Guidebook and Listening Journal. Each CD contains four progressive segments that are 15 minutes each. Re-arranged, specially engineered classical music and nature sounds comprise the listening content. The arrangements are treated with "filtering" and "gating" at gradually increasing levels through the course of the eight CD series. These techniques are the basis for the therapy process. The basic listening schedule calls for two 15-minute segments of headphone listening per day, 5 days a week, for a period of 8 weeks. It can be completed at home, at school, or in the office. In addition, the set includes one additional CD called "THE SAMPLER," which introduces the benefits and beauty of the psychoacoustically-refined music of Arcangelos in 14 selections culled from THE SOUND HEALTH SERIES TM .

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Personal Home Pages & Websites

On the 13th March 2001 my 11 year old son Andrew was diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder, after about 9 years of searching we finally had a diagnosis, but where to from here with limited knowledge of this disorder as well as limited resources available in Australia.

CAPD: From the Heart of a Mother
On April 27, 1998 my oldest daughter, Sarah, was diagnosed with central auditory processing disorder.


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