Thursday, October 14, 2010

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)

Lately I've been reading about Central Auditory Processing Disorder.  CAPD is often a co morbid condition of autism, ADD, OCD, and more, but it can stand alone.  CAPD is diagnosed by an audiologist who utilizes a variety of testing methods.  First a hearing test must be conducted.  Then the auditory processing testing takes place in a sound-proof booth and includes listening to different words in each ear at the same time, distinguishing between those words as well as between words with slightly different sounds, trying to understand statements while also hearing loud background noise (ex., the sounds of a crowd of people babbling), and more. 

Some of the symptoms in children (as listed at ):

Frequently misunderstands oral instructions or questions
Delays in responding to oral instructions or questions
Says "Huh" or "What" frequently
Frequently needs repetition of directions or information
Frequently needs requests repetition
Has problems understanding in background noise
Is easily distracted by background noise
May have problems with phonics or discriminating speech sounds
May have poor expressive or receptive language
May have spelling, reading, and other academic problems
May have behavioral problems 

It's possible that an adult who refuses to acknowledge autism or asperger's (and refuses to undergo psychological testing) might be open to being tested by an audiologist for an auditory processing disorder.   A diagnosis of CAPD could be very helpful in an NT/AS relationship.  Mutual understanding and acknowledgement of an underlying medical condition (especially one which could be contributing to communication problems) would be a step forward in a suffering marriage!


  1. When my son was diagnosed in June, we were told by our trusted speech therapist that she suspected CAPD as well. She referred us to a nearby college CAPD clinic where they test and treat it. I was told (fairly rudely) by one of the professors there that there is no way to tell if there is CAPD if the child also has Asperger's (or any ASD). In your reading, have you found anything on that?
    While I plan to try to fight to get him officially tested a bit more strongly in the future, I don't have the energy right now.

  2. I have not seen that anywhere! But diagnosis or not, I have read that a good therapy for autism (with signs of CAPD) is "The Listening Program". I hope you can get some good and helpful answers soon.

  3. Thanks - I'll check that out.

    I don't know if I was told that because I was being referred by the school (and the prof instantly thought they don't know what they're talking about) or if she's ignorant to the range of the autism spectrum and doesn't want to deal with it, or if there's an actual valid reason that she's just not explaining well.

    And thanks for the blog. I'm sure it's not easy to do but it helps me with perspective and knowing I'm not alone. I couldn't click fast enough to read this post.

  4. I think this is pretty eye-opening since I'm new to all this. I wasn't quite sure if I'd say my aspie has this condition, or if his is manifested more as ADD traits. It seems that CAPD may explain his need for repeated instructions or why he says "huh" alot. However, after looking into this, several symptoms I found on another website that he exemplifies are:

    Often needs remarks repeated.
    "Ignores" people, especially if engrossed.
    Confuses similar-sounding words.
    Difficulty following directions in a series.
    Speech developed late or unclearly. (stuttered as a child)
    Memorizes poorly.
    Difficulty in directing, sustaining, or dividing attention.
    Difficulty with reading and/or spelling.
    Difficulty hearing conversations on the telephone.
    Difficulty learning a foreign language or challenging vocabulary words.

    Thanks for posting this! I had never heard of CAPD, so it's a new thing for me to research.

    By the way, I did get my blog up and running now, and my first two posts are up, so you can check it out at

    Have a great weekend!