Hearing individuals are constantly taking in sound through both ears at lightning speed and transforming these sounds into messages that convey language. But sometimes there is a breakdown while processing and organizing these sound parts. This disruption results in a Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) and leads to a breakdown of language processing. A person with this disorder may have difficulty following complex directions, rhyming, identifying all the sounds in a word, or identifying a compound word like “cowboy” if each word chunk was presented to different ears.
Because the symptoms stem from a breakdown at the acoustic level, an audiologist makes the CAPD diagnosis. Children as young as 6-7 can be diagnosed. The initial symptoms can appear as a pure receptive language disorder, so it is important to discuss any concerns with your speech-language pathologist. If your child does have a CAPD, coordinated therapy between audiologists and speech-language pathologists can result in improved skills.