Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

Also may be called a Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)

A child with APD may have difficulties with:

  • Understanding speech in noisy places
  • Following directions
  • Hearing differences between sounds and words
  • Knowing where sounds are coming from
  • School

It can be hard to know whether a child has APD or if something else is causing the problems. A language disorder or attention problem may be the cause. Your pediatrician may recommend one of these professionals to identify the root of the cause:

  • A hearing specialist called an audiologist can test your child’s hearing and see how well your child’s brain reacts to sounds.
  • A speech-language pathologist (SLP) can test your child’s language to see how well he/she understands, talks, reads, and writes.

A SLP can help your child with:

  • Following directions
  • Understanding what he/she hears
  • Hearing the differences between sounds in words
  • Other speech or language problems that he/she may have
  • The SLP can work with your child’s teacher by making some suggestions to tailor to your child such as:
    • Giving simple directions and repeating them
    • Having the child write things down that he/she needs to remember
    • Wearing a device that lets him/her hear the teacher more clearly and drowns out background noise
    • Having the child work in a smaller, more quiet room
  • The SLP will also work with parents to help the child at home with suggestions such as:
    • Turn off television, music, or other noisy things when your child is trying to do homework, listen, or follow directions. Children with APD cannot tune other noises out
    • Ask your child to look at you when you are talking
    • Use short, simple sentences. A child with APD may have difficulty following lengthy information.
    • Do not talk to fast.
    • Have your child repeat back to you important things to make sure that he/she heard and understood you.
    • Write notes and keep calendars or schedules where your child can use them
    • Allow your child “thinking time” before asking him to respond.

A SLP will complete an assessment to determine where the breakdown is and where to focus therapy.  The parents’ impressions as to where the child is having difficulty is helpful to the SLP for an accurate diagnosis. Together, the parents and your SLP will identify goals to work on during treatment. The SLP can also provide suggestions for strategies or things to do in the home or school to improve chances for success.


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