Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD, is a challenging condition to diagnose correctly for several good reasons. Conventional hearing tests don’t consistently identify CAPD because the condition stems from the brain, not the ears. Kids with CAPD can hear spoken phrases and sounds, especially language, but their brains improperly process the signals received from the ears. Also, children who have CAPD frequently establish coping mechanisms to hide or mask their condition; they can’t truly understand the words people are speaking, however they figure out how to read facial expressions or their lips to pretend to understand.
CAPD therapy is tough for the very same reasons that the detection is tough. Anyone working with children to treat CAPD needs to be mindful of these characteristics. There is currently no sure-fire cure for CAPD, and therapy for the disorder must,out of necessity, be personalized and adjusted to the limits of each Central Auditory Processing Disorder patient. Having said that, there are a range of treatment protocols that can significantly improve the learning abilities of kids with CAPD.
CAPD treatment falls into 3 primary categories: compensatory strategies, direct treatment and environmental change.
- Environmental Change – Altering the child’s learning environment can help since it is generally accepted that ambient noise interferes with their ability to understand language. Therefore employing acoustic tiles, wall hangings or curtains to lessen environmental noise may be helpful. Another strategy is amplifying the voice of the teacher in a school room. The instructor wears a microphone and the CAPD student wears a tiny receiver. This combo helps make the instructor’s voice more distinguishable from other voices and sounds in the room.Another environmental modification is improved lighting. A properly lit face is far easier for an individual with CAPD to “read” for comprehension clues.
- Direct Treatment – 1-on-1 therapy sessions and computer-aided learning programs belong to the category of direct treatment. These strategies rely upon the brain’s inherent plasticity and capacity to establish new neural pathways and abilities. Computer software and games such as Hasbro’s “Simon” game or Scientific Education’s “Fast ForWord” educational software are employed as therapy tools. These activities help students enhance discrimination, sequencing and processing of auditory inputs. Other kinds of direct treatment use dichotic training (to enable children to hear multiple sounds in different ears and yet process them correctly), or use the “Earobics” program by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (to strengthen phonological awareness).
- Compensatory Strategies – Compensatory strategies focus on assisting the CAPD sufferers with better skills in memory, language, attention, problem solving, and other vital coping strategies. The main focus of the compensatory strategies is to coach skills that on the whole enhance learning success while also teaching CAPD learners to be accountable for their own academic progress. Such methods routinely include lessons in “active listening” and games or activities grounded in solving of word problems.
So treatments are available if your child is diagnosed with Central Auditory Processing Disorder, but keep in mind that step one is diagnosing the disorder, and doing so as soon as possible. Don’t forget that our skilled hearing professionals are here to assist you in any way possible and to refer you to other trusted area specialists for the very best CAPD diagnostic and treatment options.