Auditory Processing Disorder definition and facts

  • Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) (also known as Auditory Processing Disorder and Receptive Language Disorder), referes to several disorders that result in a breakdown in the hearing process.
  • One of the most common problems for people with CAPD is difficulty listening with background noise.
  • Up to five percent of children are estimated to have a receptive or expressive language disorder, or a mixture of both.
  • Signs and symptoms of receptive language disorder vary and there is no standard set of symptoms. Symptoms may include seeming not to listen when they are spoken to, appearing to lack interest when they are read to, difficulty understanding the meaning of words and sentences, difficulty remembering all the words in a sentence, inability to understand complicated sentences, and inability to follow verbal instructions; especially if the instruction is long or complicated.
  • The cause of receptive language disorder is unknown, but is thought to consist of a number of factors working in combination, including family history, limited exposure to hearing language in the day-to-day environment, and developmental and cognitive (thinking) disabilities such as autism or Down syndrome. Other causes of receptive language disorder include damage to the brain, due to trauma, tumors, or disease.
  • Auditory processing disorder in children is diagnosed using hearing tests, language comprehension testing, close observation of the child interacting with people in different settings, psychological assessment, and vision tests.
  • Treatment for auditory processing disorder includes speech-language therapy, special education classes, integrated support at preschool or school, psychological treatment, and information for families.
  • A child with receptive language disorder may also have expressive language disorder and difficulties with using spoken language. Symptoms may include frequently grasping for the right word, using the wrong words, grammatical mistakes, simple sentence construction, use of stock phrases, inability to 'get to the point,' problems relaying information, and an inability to start or hold a conversation.

What is central auditory processing disorder (CAPD)?

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) (also known as Auditory Processing Disorder and Receptive Language Disorder), is an umbrella term for a variety of disorders that result in a breakdown in the hearing process. In short, our brain cannot make sense of what our ears hear because the auditory signal is distorted in some way. As a result, one of the biggest problems experienced by individuals with CAPD is difficulty listening in background noise.

Children need to understand spoken language before they can use language to express themselves. In most cases, children with a receptive language problem also have an expressive language disorder, which means they have trouble using spoken language.

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ADHD Symptoms and Signs in Children

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) refers to a chronic biobehavioral disorder that initially recognized in childhood. Signs and symptoms of ADHD in children include:

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What are the signs and symptoms of auditory processing disorder?

The symptoms and signs or receptive language disorder vary from child to child since there is no standard set of symptoms that indicates receptive language disorder. However, symptoms may include:

  • Not seeming to listen when you speak to them
  • Appearing to lack interest when storybooks are read to them
  • Difficulty understanding the meaning of words and sentences
  • Difficulty remembering all the words in a sentence in order to make sense of what has been said
  • Inability to understand complicated sentences
  • Inability to follow verbal instructions; especially if the instruction is long or complicated.

What causes auditory processing disorder?

The cause of receptive language disorder is often unknown, but is thought to consist of a number of factors working in combination, such as:

  • Genetic susceptibility (family history of receptive language disorder)
  • Limited exposure to hearing language in their day-to-day environment
  • General developmental and cognitive (thinking) diabilities.
  • Receptive language disorder is often associated with developmental disorders such as autism or Down syndrome. (Although for some children, difficulty with language is the only developmental problem they experience.)

In other cases, receptive language disorder is caused by damage to the brain, for example due to trauma, tumors, or disease.

Receptive language disorder may also be related to:

  • Hearing impairment: due to decreased exposure to language
  • Vision impairment: due to the absence of cues such as facial expression and gestures
  • Attention disorders: due to difficulties in attending fully to what is being said.

How common is audio processing disorder?

It is estimated that between three and five per cent of children have a receptive or expressive language disorder, or a mixture of both. Another name for receptive language disorder is language comprehension deficit. Speech-language therapy is used to treat receptive language disorder.

How is auditory processing disorder diagnosed in children?

Assessment needs to pinpoint the child’s particular areas of difficulty, especially when they do not respond to spoken language. Diagnosis may include:

  • Hearing tests (by an audiologist) to check whether the language problems are caused by hearing impairment and to establish whether or not the child is able to pay attention to sound and language (auditory processing assessment)
  • Testing the child’s language comprehension (by a speech pathologist) and comparing the results to the expected skill level for the child’s age. If the child is from a non-English speaking home, assessment of comprehension should be performed in their first language, as well as in English, using culturally-appropriate materials
  • Close observation of the child in a variety of different settings while they interact with a range of people
  • Assessment by a psychologist to help identify any associated cognitive problems
  • Vision tests to check for vision impairment.

What are the treatments auditory processing disorder?

Treatment options for receptive language disorder may include:

  1. Speech-language therapy (one-on-one or as part of a group, or both, depending on the needs of the child)
  2. Providing information to families so that they can facilitate language growth at home
  3. Special education classes at school
  4. Integration support at preschool or school in cases of severe difficulty
  5. Referral to a psychologist for treatment (only if there are also significant behavioral problems).

A child's progress will depend on a range of individual factors, such as whether or not brain injury is present.

What is expressive language disorder? What are the symptoms and signs?

A child with receptive language disorder may also have expressive language disorder, which means they have difficulties with using spoken language. Symptoms differ from one child to the next, but can include:

  • Frequently grasping for the right word
  • Using the wrong words in speech
  • Making grammatical mistakes
  • Relying on short, simple sentence construction
  • Relying on stock standard phrases
  • Inability to 'come to the point' of what they’re trying to say
  • Problems with retelling a story or relaying information
  • Inability to start or hold a conversation.
Medically Reviewed on 7/2/2018
References
SOURCE: Receptive language disorder. Better Health Channel; Victoria State Government. Updated: September 2016.
<https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/receptive-language-disorder>
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