Central Auditory Processing evaluation in children, adolescents and adults
In this assessment various areas are assessed including: the ability to fill in gaps of missing information (auditory closure), auditory/ speech discrimination in degraded or filtered speech conditions (e.g. when there is noise or reverberation/echo or filtering), binaural integration and separation (evaluate how the ears work together or separate information e.g. when there are 2 sets of stimuli heard at the same time i.e. dichotic listening) and pitch pattern perception. In addition, we evaluate the ability to recall information in a specified order (i.e. short-term auditory memory).
Since CAPD is sometimes (usually but not always) associated with language and literacy acquisition and development, in children and adolescents, we may elect to evaluate the client’s literacy skills (i.e. phonic skills and the ability to manipulate sounds, known as phonological awareness). We may also screen the client’s understanding of language (receptive language) to establish whether this area has been impacted upon and whether further in-depth evaluation of language is required.
A diagnosis of CAPD is made once all tests have been scored and compared to normative data (i.e. either a specific score indicative of expected performance in that area, or what we would expect others of the same age or if a child, others in the same school year level to be doing). In most tests, a mean (or average score) indicates expected performance, whilst a positive standard deviation score is indicative of above average performance and a negative standard deviation score is indicative of poorer performance or below average performance. A score of -1 standard deviation correlates with mild difficulty, -1 to -2 standard deviations correlates with moderate difficulty and -2 standard deviations correlates with severe difficulty.
Once we have established whether CAPD is present, we can delineate the type of disorder (or profile) evident. For example, whether discriminating patterns or tones is the primary area of difficulty or whether processing language information is the primary area of difficulty or whether organization and sequencing auditory information is the primary area of difficulty. Based on the client’s particular processing profile and auditory strengths and weaknesses, we will select the most appropriate form of intervention as well as the specific intervention program to be followed.