My son was just diagnosed with CAPD. How can I help him?January 7th, 2009
When your son or daughter is diagnosed with CAPD, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia or any other learning disability, many emotions run through you. On the one hand you are relieved that there is an actual name for the learning problems your child is experiencing. On the other hand, you want to know everything you can as quickly as you can about the problem so you can help your child as quickly as possible to overcome it.
I believe the real key to living with any learning disability, whether is dyslexia, a visual processing problem, CAPD, or any other auditory processing problem, is to understand what it is and how it impacts learning and then, what can you do about it.
With that in mind, CAPD is a physical disorder under the protection of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). The majority of kids with CAPD do have normal hearing. However, their ability to process auditory information is compromised. The difficulties they exhibit can range from mild to severe and can take a variety of forms.
Here are a variety of symptoms of CAPD:
Is easily distracted or bothered by loud or sudden noises
- Is upset by noisy environment
- Improves their behavior and performance in quieter settings
- Has difficulties following directions
- Has reading, spelling, writing, or other speech-language difficulties
- Has difficulty comprehending abstract information
- Is forgetful and disorganized
- Has a hard time following conversations
This is just a short list of possible symptoms. Many of these symptoms are also found in learning disabilities, and attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD). It is even possible to have both CAPD and a learning disability or ADD or a specific language impairment. Your child must be assessed individually by an audiologist to determine if they have CAPD.
There are five main problems that come into play with CAPD:
- Auditory Figure-Ground Problems can lead to problems with instructions that are only auditory because students may not be able to separate the instruction from background conversations.
- Auditory Memory Problems can lead to difficulties retaining or recalling auditory experiences or directions. Some students find it hard to recognize auditory stimuli they have heard before; others remember hearing the stimuli, but cannot reproduce it accurately. When given a list of things to do, some children remember only the first direction, some only the last. Auditory memory problems can also lead to low factual knowledge.
- Auditory Discrimination Problems can lead to difficulties acquiring, understanding, and using spoken language. Discrimination problems can also lead to poor spelling.
- Auditory Visual Coordination Problems can lead to the inability to watch and listen, or listen and copy at the same time. It is very difficult to complete a task. This leads to problems in taking notes and following along with oral reading. Other areas that can be involved are listening and visually doing something at the same time.
- Auditory Language Association & Classification Problems can lead to difficulties with holding two or more concepts in relationship to each other, identifying and verbalizing concepts and making inferences from conversations or understanding verbal math problems.
Definitions excerpted from Learning Difficulty/Disability Pre-Screening and Comprehensive Identification Tool
So, what do you do to help your child?
You want to look for materials that will address those specific auditory areas. At the same time though, I like to look for materials that will also give students more bang for the time they spend working on the specific areas of perception that are causing the difficulty. In other words, I want to use materials that also teach specific skills such as spelling, reading/listening comprehension, note-taking, or writing that also address the areas of auditory processing that students with CAPD have.
The Reading Pack that I developed addresses the specific skills students need to improve:
- Reading fluency
- Reading Comprehension
- Note-taking & Writing
The Reading Pack also addresses the following auditory processing areas:
- Auditory Closure
- Auditory Memory
- Auditory Discrimination
- Auditory Visual Coordination
- Auditory Visual Integration
- Auditory Language Association & Classification
- Auditory Integration
The game The Comprehension Zone addresses reading and listening comprehension.
For additional Information on CAPD, see
I hope this is helpful to you.
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Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET