Living with CAPD

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is a neurological issue affecting an individual’s ability to process sound. Normal auditory screenings, designed to measure the pitches or frequencies a person hears and the volume or intensity a person hears, will not indicate CAPD; in fact, people can have normal hearing but still have CAPD. An experienced clinical audiologist executes a specially designed battery of four tests to rule out hearing loss and identify neurologic sound identification patterns that indicate CAPD. Usually, these tests cannot be run until the person is older than seven due to the level of interaction required for diagnosis.

Some sample indicators of CAPD that a parent may notice include:

  • Prefers conversations or entertainment systems to be louder than most peers
  • Requires frequent repetition of new words to understand them
  • Confuses similar sounding words
  • Interprets speech quite literally
  • Late development of speech

CAPD is a disorder recognized by ADA, so there are protections under the law. Currently, kids with CAPD can receive accurate diagnosis with some treatment. However, there are individuals with CAPD who would not be diagnosed because they were educated before CAPD was identified as a disorder.

Enough of that!

I could go on and on about all the therapies and issues. I could blast all the older generations that painted people with CAPD as lazy, stupid, illiterate. But that’s not my goal.

I want to encourage you to see the fun you can have with CAPD. Yes, you will miss conversations, and sometimes you will be in trouble over socially inappropriate responses. But there are times when you can sit back and enjoy the humor. I would not be surprised if malapropisms arise from people with CAPD trying to learn to process sound and communicate with the world.

I and one of my daughters are both diagnosed with CAPD. She got an early diagnosis, and I was 40+. In the text below, I will list the original or intended text in black, the text we heard or said in blue, and comments in italics; I will also try to stagger for ease of grouping thoughts.


Bringing in the sheaves! Bringing in the sheaves!
Bringing in the cheese, bringing in the cheese…
This is mine. I never understood why you would want to bring cheese to church, and the glares of little old ladies didn’t clarify it for me.


“It was nothing like that, penis breath!” — Steven Spielberg, ET
It was nothing like that, peanut breath!
This is mine. My father was much happier with my interpretation as I was not yet a teen and he didn’t have any explaining to do.


“The leader of the band is tired, and his eyes are growing old.” — Dan Fogelberg, Leader of the Band 
The leader of the band has died, and his eyes are growing cold.
This is mine. My version is accurate to life not art, but somewhat more depressing.


“Karma karma karma karma, karma chameleon / You come and go, you come and go / Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream / red gold and green, red gold and green ” — Culture Club,  Karma Chameleon
Karma, karma, karma, karma chameleon /  *inaudible syllables, inaudible syllables, inaudible syllables* / With golden dreams, with golden dreams
This is mine. For the shower, it was fine. However, in junior high music class, it was so embarrassing.


Make me Venison to eat, mommy! 
Make me Vaseline to eat, mommy!
It was the middle of December. My daughter kept asking to eat Vaseline. I did a ton of querying and followup to determine that her request was for the meat my mother had made us.


May I have cinnamon on my applesauce please?
May I have synonym on my applesauce please?
This again was my daughter’s. While synonyms are the spice of good communication, they don’t help dessert taste better.



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