reply to post by phoebeflakes
LIVING AND WORKING WITH A CENTRAL AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDER (CAPD)
Judith W. Paton, M. A., Audiologist, San Mateo, CA
The easiest, quickest way to communicate is simply to say something and then deal with the other person's reply, right? Except that if your listener
has a CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder) your remark might come through with certain words drowned out by other noises, or with some words
sounding like different words or as meaningless strings of verbiage. You might begin to suspect this when the other person's expression doesn't
register understanding, or if he "answers the wrong question," or when he asks you for additional information which most people would have been able
to infer from what you just said.
Most of us aren't that sophisticated about CAPDs, however, and are much more likely to wonder if the listener is just not very intelligent or
doesn't really care about us and what we are saying. People with CAPDs (which are usually part of a learning disability) have been embarrassed by
situations and reactions like these all their lives.
A CAPD is a physical hearing impairment, but one which does not show up as a hearing loss on routine screenings or an audiogram. Instead, it affects
the hearing system beyond the ear, whose job it is to separate a meaningful message from non-essential background sound and deliver that information
with good clarity to the intellectual centers of the brain (the central nervous system). When we receive distorted or incomplete auditory messages we
lose one of our most vital links with the world and other people.
These "short circuits in the wiring" sometimes run in families or result from a difficult birth, just like any learning disability (LD). In some
cases the disorder is acquired from a head injury or severe illness. Often the exact cause is not known. Children and adults whose auditory problems
have not been recognized and dealt with are forced to invent their own solutions. The resulting behaviors can mask the real problem and complicate not
only school and work, but even close relationships, where communication is so important. Advice like "Pay attention," "Listen," or "Don't forget
--," hasn't helped either.
It takes specialized testing to identify a CAPD. Some of the tests used by educational therapists, neuropsychologists, and educational psychologists
give at least an indication that a CAPD might be present. These include tests of auditory memory (for sentences, nonsense syllables, or numbers
backward), sequencing, tonal pattern recognition or sound blending, and store of general information (which is most often acquired through listening).
The most accurate way to sort out CAPDs from other problems that mimic them, however, is through clinical audiologic tests of central nervous system
function. These are better at locating the site of the problem and reducing the effects of language sophistication on the test results. Do your best
to choose a professional who is familiar with CAPDs, is comfortable working with adults, and who can write a useful and understandable report. You
might ask: "How many adults with auditory processing disorders do you work with in a year?" or, "What kind of a report would you write to help me
or my employer understand my problem?" Nowadays there are many ways professionals can help you streamline your coping abilities. Also, there may be
conditions accompanying the CAPD which are medically treatable like allergies, Attention Deficit Disorder, Tourette syndrome, or nutritional
This checklist of common features of CAPD might lead you to consider such a possibility for yourself, a co-worker, or a friend or relative, if several
- Talks or likes T. V. louder than normal.
- Interprets words too literally.
- Often needs remarks repeated.
- Difficulty sounding out words.
- "Ignores" people, especially if engrossed.
- Unusually sensitive to sounds.
- Asks many extra informational questions.
- Confuses similar-sounding words.
- Difficulty following directions in a series.
- Speech developed late or unclearly.
- Poor "communicator" (terse, telegraphic).
- Memorizes poorly.
- Hears better when watching the speaker.
- Problems with rapid speech.
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