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Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD) in Children

Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD) in Children

Children, who struggle academically, without obvious explanation, are can be found to have a Central Auditory Processing Disorder.

Upon analysis of a child’s auditory abilities a range of deficits can often be determined. Difficulties ranging from short term auditory memory, auditory sequencing, spatial listening, speech integration and speech in noise amongst other issues can be identified. Once identified appropriate interventions can be devised, implemented and then re-evaluated to determine success or the necessity of modification in approach.

Martha Mack provides specialist assessment services for individuals experiencing Auditory Processing Difficulties. Martha is a psychologist that also specialises in assessing attention deficit disorder, learning difficulties and emotional wellbeing. She practices at the Better MultiSensory Learning Centre, 1/279 Doncaster Road Balwyn North. Readers will find relevant information at

What is Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)?

CAPD is the most common abbreviation to describe a range of learning difficulties, although it is relevant to note that a processing disorder is not necessarily always of a central origin. Put simply a child suffering from Auditory Processing Disorders can encounter significant difficulties accessing the academic curriculum and to succeed educationally. This leads to a lot of frustration in the child and can be confronting to educators not familiar with the techniques that can help these children perform optimally.

Symptoms and effects of CAPD

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) usually affects 5% of school-aged children. The children who have this disorder encounter difficulty processing and thus interpreting what they hear.

Quite often children affected with a Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) fail to hear things being said in noisy places more so than others. The poor acoustics, overcrowding and now the advent of open plan classrooms diminish audibility and are disabling combinations for these children. They may often fail to discriminate between the similar sounding speech sounds or be unable to process sound efficiently in competing noise environments. Spatial hearing difficulties, recently identified in the literature, is another form of CAPD that can be assisted with specific therapy and improving acoustic environments.

Tests and treatments for CPD

Today a significant range of specific Auditory Processing Assessments are available for Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD). Standardization of these test permits statistical comparisons of performance more specifically for children 7 years of age or older, although it retains reasonable face validity in some younger children. The assessments are conducted in sound booths to ensure purity of the presented materials. A test battery approach is used to determine which areas are likely problems before proceeding to focusing on interventions.

The Better MulitiSensory Learning Centre provides assessments and targeted interventions. The intervention approaches focus on areas:

  • Changing the home or school environment to improve access to auditory information i.e. changing room acoustics and alleviating background noise.
  • Educational strategies to strengthen cognitive skills, memory, concentrations and problem-solving by working with teachers trained in the Orton Gillingham approach and MultiSensory Learning to address Phonemic Awareness and related Literacy issues though a structured educational program.
  • Direct treatment though a program of “Constrained Induced Auditory Training” developed on the work of Audiologists Jeffrey Weihing and Frank Musiek. Children and adults can undertake the program at home under the supervision of a specialist from the Centre. All treatment programs are individualised based on the intake assessment. Treatment outcomes are measured through the application of post program assessments.
Get in contact with Martha Mack for an assessment

Email or visit Better MultiSensory Learning Centre.

The early diagnosis of Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is beneficial to facilitate its early remediation. Children who are undiagnosed can misbehave in class and become frustrated by their inability keep up with the class mates and long term can suffer academically even though they may be very bright.

It is important that comprehensive evaluation of peripheral hearing ability is conducted by an Audiologist initially who may then refer your child to a specialist service for a more detailed Auditory Processing evaluation.

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