Central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) is a condition in which the ears and the brain do not work well together. People with CAPD can hear, but the brain has trouble processing the sounds. They have trouble:
It's important to know that CAPD is not an intellectual disability. It also isn't autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or simply "bad" behaviour. With treatment, people with CAPD can learn to cope with it. They can lead healthy, productive lives.
Nobody knows exactly what causes CAPD. Some children who have autism and ADHD also have CAPD, but autism and ADHD do not cause it.
Parents and teachers often first notice the symptoms of CAPD in school. Symptoms include:
Some symptoms of CAPD appear in other developmental problems too, such as ADHD, a learning disorder, or autism. The audiologist or another provider will make sure that the symptoms are not being caused by one of these and that CAPD is the right diagnosis. An audiologist is a health care professional who measures hearing loss. He or she will:
Testing usually starts when the child is at least 7 or 8 years old. The audiologist takes into account your child's age, language development, and cultural background when doing the tests.
Treatment is planned specially for your child. It may include:
Your child's hearing develops as he or she grows older. Continuing to develop skills over time can help your child cope with CAPD.
Your child may also get help from his or her school. Ask about programs that identify your child's needs and set goals for learning.
Your child isn't to blame for his or her problems with listening.
You can do a lot to help your child and reinforce the skills he or she learns from the speech therapist. You can:
Your child's teacher can help by placing your child at the front of the classroom. This helps your child ignore distractions and focus on the teacher's speaking.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines he or she takes.
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Current as of: July 29, 2016
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
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