Central Auditory Processing Disorder, abbreviated CAPD, is a complex condition to diagnose correctly for many reasons. Traditional hearing tests do not always detect CAPD because the condition stems from the brain, not the ears. Kids with CAPD can hear spoken sounds, especially language, but their brains incorrectly process the information received from the ears. Second, children with CAPD often establish coping mechanisms that mask their disorder, such as observing speakers’ expressions or reading lips to obtain clues to help them comprehend what is being said.
Central Auditory Processing Disorder treatment is complicated for the exact same reasons that the identification is difficult.
Anyone working with children to treat Central Auditory Processing Disorder must be mindful of these traits. Regrettably there is no generally accepted cure or therapy for CAPD that works well across all children. Each treatment plan is personalized and adjusted based on the patients’ capabilities. That being said, there are a variety of treatment methods that are significantly strengthening children’s educational prospects.
These methodologies are usually described using three broad categories – direct treatment, compensatory strategies and environmental change.
- Direct Treatment – Direct treatment strategies include the 1-on-1 therapy sessions and the use of computer-assisted learning to take advantage of the brain’s inherent plasticity – the capacity to construct new neurological pathways or ways of thinking. Computer software and games such as Scientific Education’s “Fast ForWord” educational software or Hasbro’s “Simon” game are used as therapy resources. These activities help learners enhance sequencing, discrimination and processing of auditory signals. Some practitioners use dichotic training to develop the kids’ ability to hear many sounds in different ears and process them the right way, while others use Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s “Earobics” program to increase phonological awareness.
- Compensatory Strategies – Compensatory strategies focus on supporting the CAPD patients with improved skills in attention, language, memory, problem solving, and other critical daily living strategies. The focus of these types of training are to teach kids both to take responsibility for their own educational success, and to provide them with the enhanced techniques and skills they will need to do well. Strategies and techniques in this category include exercises in solving word problems and active listening.
- Environmental Change – Adjusting the child’s learning environment can help because it is well-known that ambient noise interferes with their capacity to understand speech. So using curtains, wall hangings or acoustic tiles to lessen environmental noise can be helpful. In certain classrooms, the instructors wear a microphone and the CAPD students wear small receivers, so that the teacher’s voice is amplified and clarified, making it distinct from other sounds or voices. Even improved lighting provides benefits, because expressions are easier to read on fully-lit faces than on dimly-lit faces.
So if your youngster is diagnosed with CAPD, rest easy realizing that there are treatments available to treat it, but bear in mind that an early accurate diagnosis is paramount to effective treatment. If there is a way we can assist with this, be sure to contact us. I want to add our many years of hearing experience and connections with local CAPD specialists to helping your child learn properly.