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What is the difference between APD and CAPD?

Donna Geffner, PhD, CCC-SLP/A, Deborah Ross Swain, EdD

November 28, 2022



What is the difference between APD and CAPD?


The terms APD and CAPD are often used interchangeably. However, the two terms reflect the controversy of whether the auditory processing disorder lies within the central auditory system or results from a breakdown in the entire auditory mechanism. Once the auditory stimulus enters the ear, it transforms from an acoustic signal to a lexical and then a linguistic signal to be interpreted by the brain. This process is a bottom-up process; thus, there is a need for a multimodality function and the involvement of the entire auditory system. Other audiologists restrict the term to the central auditory system only - that is the system beyond the peripheral one since an auditory processing disorder does not involve the outer, middle, or inner ear or the lower brain stem. The position used by ASHA (2005a) is that APD is not a hearing loss, but instead, it is a loss of hearing perception. For this disorder to be totally limited to the central auditory channel is not tenable, neurophysiologically (ASHA, 2005a). Further, a disorder could be due to damage to the auditory nerves from head trauma, complications or middle ear infections, lead poisoning, long-standing OME, and other causes. How auditory processing takes place in the central nervous system is an integrative process and involves several modalities and systems. 

This Ask the Expert is an excerpt from the course, 20Q: Auditory Processing - What You Always Wanted to Know

donna geffner

Donna Geffner, PhD, CCC-SLP/A

Donna Geffner, PhD is a dually licensed and certified speech-language pathologist and audiologist who maintains a private practice after serving for 40 years as a Program Director and Clinical Director for a university in New York. Her practice is in Long Island where she evaluates and treats a population of children and adults with auditory processing disorders. She is the author of 5 books, over 300 articles/webinars and a former ASHA president.

deborah ross swain

Deborah Ross Swain, EdD

Deborah Ross Swain, Ed.D. is a speech-language pathologist and Clinical Director and CEO of The Swain Center for Listening, Communicating and Learning in Santa Rosa, California. She specializes in assessment and intervention of processing disorders, learning disabilities and early intervention. She is the author of numerous standardized tests and books. She is a nationally and internationally recognized speaker and a former president of the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Related Courses

20Q: Auditory Processing - What You Always Wanted to Know
Presented by Donna Geffner, PhD, CCC-SLP/A, Deborah Ross Swain, EdD


Donna Geffner, PhD, CCC-SLP/ADeborah Ross Swain, EdD
Course: #10334Level: Intermediate1.5 Hours
  'The information presented includes a very good overview of APD'   Read Reviews
Behaviors and developmental/educational impacts associated with auditory processing disorder (APD) are described in this course. Methods and tools for identifying APD, including a list of tests for assessment, as well as treatment strategies for APD are discussed.

20Q: A Continuum Approach for Sorting Out Processing Disorders
Presented by Gail J. Richard, PhD, CCC-SLP


Gail J. Richard, PhD, CCC-SLP
Course: #10008Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Presenter's article was easy to read and very informative'   Read Reviews
There is a good deal of confusion among audiologists and speech-language pathologists when a diagnosis of “processing disorder” is introduced. This course presents a continuum model to differentiate processing disorders into acoustic, phonemic, or linguistic aspects so that assessment and treatment can become more focused and effective. The roles of audiologists and SLPs in relation to processing disorders are described, and compensatory strategies for differing aspects of processing are presented.

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Presented by A.U. Bankaitis Smith, PhD


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Course: #9729Level: Intermediate1 Hour
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Speech-language pathologists are expected by policy authorities to apply appropriate measures to protect patients, co-workers and themselves in clinical situations that may expose individuals to infectious microbes. This article provides practical guidelines for implementing infection control principles within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, including discussion of personal protective equipment (PPE) and disinfecting and cleaning products.

20Q: In the Thick of It - The International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative (IDDSI)
Presented by Jennifer Raminick, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, Danielle Ward, MA, CCC-SLP


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Course: #10756Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Really good comprehensive information on IDDSI'   Read Reviews
The importance of using IDSSI to provide standardized language when speaking about texture modification is discussed in this course. Comparisons of IDDSI and the National Dysphagia Diet (NDD), as well as IDDSI standards for pediatric vs. adult patients are presented. Additionally, potential barriers, solutions, and frequently asked questions related to implementation of IDDSI are described.

20Q: Induced Laryngeal Obstruction - An Overview for Speech-Language Pathologists
Presented by Robert Brinton Fujiki, PhD, CCC-SLP


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Course: #10761Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Seeing that there is more research needed on pt outcome measures'   Read Reviews
The nature of induced laryngeal obstruction, including comorbidities and causes, and the speech-language pathologist’s role in evaluation and treatment of this disorder are described in this course. Current diagnostic and treatment practices and research updates pertaining to the condition are discussed.

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