Diagnosing Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is hard for several reasons. The problem is not because the youngsters cannot hear words being spoken to them, but because their brains have an inability to process and interpret the words and understand their meaning, which implies that standard hearing tests don’t consistently catch CAPD. Second, kids with Central Auditory Processing Disorder tend to develop coping behaviors which hide their disorder, such as watching speakers’ expressions or reading lips to gain cues to help them grasp what is being said.
The same traits that make Central Auditory Processing Disorder hard to identify also make it tough to treat; anyone working with a child with Central Auditory Processing Disorder must keep these factors in mind at all times. Regrettably there is no recognized cure or therapy for CAPD which works consistently across all children. Every treatment plan is individualized and fine-tuned based on the patients’ limitations and capabilities. But there are therapy approaches that appear to work, which can considerably boost the prospects of kids with CAPD.
There are three major categories of CAPD treatments – direct treatment, environmental change and compensatory strategies.
- Environmental Change – Modifying the child’s learning environment may help since it is generally accepted that ambient noise disrupts their ability to comprehend language. So using wall hangings, curtains or acoustic tiles to reduce environmental noise may be helpful. Increasing the volume of selective voices in the school room is also helpful; the instructor wears a microphone and the CAPD student wears a tiny receiver that raises the instructor’s voice to make it more distinct from other sounds or speakers. Even improved lighting delivers benefits, because facial expressions are easier to read on well lit faces than on dimly-lit faces.
- Compensatory Strategies – Approaches that concentrate on helping the CAPD pupils to improve their language, attention, memory and problem-solving skills are commonly called compensatory strategies. The focus of the compensatory strategies is to coach skills that on the whole strengthen academic performance while also teaching CAPD students to be accountable for their own learning. Such strategies frequently include sessions of “active listening” and games or activities based on the solving of word problems.
- Direct Treatment – Direct treatment refers to the use of computer-assisted learning and one-on-one sessions to capitalize on the brain’s inherent plasticity, its capacity to transform itself, and construct new ways of thinking and processing. Such techniques include the usage of Hasbro’s “Simon” game or the “Fast ForWord” educational software from Scientific Education to improve students’ capacity to order, discriminate between, and process the auditory inputs they hear. Some direct Central Auditory Processing Disorder therapy uses dichotic training which trains the brain on hearing many sounds in different ears and processing the combined inputs accurately. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s “Earobics” program, is also employed by some specialists to improve phonological awareness.
Therefore if your youngster is identified as having CAPD, rest easy realizing that there are therapies available to treat it, but bear in mind that an accurate early diagnosis is the key to effective treatment. If we can assist in any way with this, be sure to contact us. Allow us to add our many years of hearing experience and partnerships with local Central Auditory Processing Disorder specialists to helping your child learn effectively.