Central Auditory Processing Disorder

There can be endless joy in watching a child grow and celebrating milestones along the way. But what if parents and teachers see that a child isn’t communicating or comprehending properly? What if the results of this child’s hearing test are normal, without an obvious cause for the problems observed? The child may be struggling with Central Auditory Processing, which we define as the brain’s ability to understand speech in complex auditory environments, such as background noise or rapid speech.

Signs of Central Auditory Processing Issues

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) explains that Central Auditory Processing concerns arise when all of these factors are present:

  • “Primary school-aged child
  • “Unexplained ‘listening difficulties’
  • “Often language and reading-related problems
  • “Poor academic achievement”

The first question to ask about the possibility of Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD, is whether a child can follow multistep directions. Auditory processing difficulties affect reading and language skills, the ability to identify main ideas, and participation in group or classroom settings. Children with auditory processing disorders may appear to have attention deficit issues because they use visual information to supplement their lack of auditory perception.

How Is CAPD Diagnosed and Treated?

CAP testing, an in-depth evaluation and reporting process, makes it possible to know whether CAPD is present. This full diagnostic test is more complete and accurate than the prevalent auditory screening. The basic auditory screener doesn’t cover all necessary components of auditory processing, while the full diagnostic evaluation is reliable and valid because it tests the temporal response for timing. The screener doesn’t allow for consistent scoring either — in fact, scores cannot be duplicated when it is re-administered. Lastly, this screener cannot properly isolate CAPD without interference from other potential conditions.

Few audiologists are qualified with the 30 hours of continuing education and specialized training required to conduct the full diagnostic testing and interpret its results. Dr. Jessica Woods, AuD, CCC-A considers it a privilege to offer the following services to children and their families:

  • Early Intervention Program assists with the development of auditory and linguistic skills for children of preschool age or older, who are suspected of central auditory processing difficulties or reading and language delays but are too young for CAP evaluations.
  • Complete Auditory Processing Evaluations determine the ability of children over the age of 7 to distinguish separate sounds in words, to identify sounds in background noise, to recall auditory information, and to comprehend the order of words.
  • Central Auditory Processing Disorder Intervention Program establishes auditory and linguistic skills for children ages 7 to 18 with Central Auditory Processing Disorder, while working with school systems for appropriate classroom accommodations.

During this new school year, we believe no challenge is too great for a child to overcome with resources and support. What is your child’s story? Share with us in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.

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