The term CAPD is used to describe problems with understanding sounds—at brain level.

’Central’—refers to the brain—to distinguish the problem from being related to hearing—at ear level.

‘Auditory’—refers to hearing.

‘Processing’—refers to the brain’s ability to make sense of the sounds that the ear detects.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder [CAPD] is also known as Auditory Processing Disorder [APD] and I believe the CAPD is also known as APD [Auditory Processing Disorder] and I believe the latter name is actually correct as ‘processing’ only occurs at the level of the brain [i.e., ‘centrally’].

By general usage, CAPD is more commonly used so I will use the name CAPD in this discussion. When looking for further information it is worth looking under both titles.


Central Auditory Processing disorder can have many causes but the most common in our community is related to early ME problems, from periods of inconsistency of the child’s hearing. This results in auditory pathways not being set up adequately at the ‘sensitive’ time for their development. Thus infants who had Eustachian tube Irritation are at potential risk for this problem.

Early recognition and treatment are important to ensure many aspects of the child’s development— emotionally, socially and academically.

CAPD is still not well recognised in our community but may be a cause of learning problems for some children.

CAPD is commonly associated with other sensory development and integration problems. These include speech and language issues, motor skill problems and visual processing difficulties. These may all contribute to the child’s development being less satisfactory than expected.

CAPD can involve different areas of the brain, so the difficulties vary from one child to another. Testing may require assessments by several agencies to fully understand the child’s problems.

Management is divided into setting up new brain pathways; finding coping strategies and modifying the environment to make it easier for the child to cope and learn.

Treatment depends on the child’s particular problems and may involve speech therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, etc. Computer programs, listening games, remedial teaching etc may be used as part of the management strategies. I believe the best of the computer programs is ‘Fast ForWord’. It is expensive, time consuming and not subsidised by Medicare or private medical insurance, but so far offers the best hope of a ‘cure’ for some [if not all] of the problems.

Modifying the school environment is especially helpful. Amplification in classrooms is helpful for the teachers and for all students—not just those with CAPD.

Current school environments are very unsuitable for children with CAPD. The encouragement for schools to have lots of noise and visual stimulation and to use split classes and combined classes are particularly unsuitable for children with CAPD. Children with CAPD learn best in a quiet environment, in small groups or one on one.

Children with untreated CAPD do not ‘outgrow’ the problem but may learn some coping skills. Some adults with CAPD return to adult education and achieve well, despite not achieving academically as children.

The aim of understanding and managing CAPD is to allow children to achieve to their intellectual potential and to live satisfying lives in the community….

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