Identifying Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD, is difficult for a variety of reasons. The problem isn’t because the children can’t hear words being directed at them, but because their brains have an inability to process the words and grasp them, which implies that conventional hearing tests do not always detect CAPD. One more reason it is hard to identify is because children often develop advanced coping mechanisms. These kids may be pros at using expressions or reading lips to conceal their condition.
The identical traits that make CAPD difficult to identify also make it tricky to treat; any individual working with a child with CAPD must keep these traits in mind. Presently there is no definitive cure for CAPD, and no therapy that works equally well for all children with the disorder, so treatment must be individualized and adjusted for the capabilities and limitations of each patient. That said, there are a variety of therapy approaches that may considerably improve the developmental abilities of children with Central Auditory Processing Disorder.
There are three major categories of Central Auditory Processing Disorder treatments: direct treatment, compensatory strategies and environmental change.
Direct Treatment – One-on-one therapy sessions and computer-aided learning programs fall into the category of direct treatment. These strategies depend on the brain’s inherent plasticity and capacity to establish new neurological pathways and capabilities. Software and games such as the “Fast ForWord” educational software from Scientific Education or the “Simon” game by Hasbro are employed as treatment resources. These exercises help learners enhance discrimination, sequencing and processing of auditory inputs. Other kinds of direct treatment use dichotic training (to train children to hear various sounds in different ears and yet process them correctly), or use the “Earobics” program by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (to enhance phonological awareness).
Compensatory Strategies – Compensatory strategies focus on supporting the CAPD patients with improved skills in problem solving, memory, attention, language, and other critical coping mechanisms. These particular strategies give learners better coping skills and techniques which allow them to succeed at learning, and also make them learn to be accountable for their own academic success. Such strategies often include sessions of active listening and activities or games grounded in solving of word problems.
Environmental Change – Within the class of environmental change one technique is decreasing the amount of ambient noise via soundproofing and putting in acoustic tiles, wall hangings or curtains because ambient noise is known to make it harder for someone with Central Auditory Processing Disorder to comprehend speech. In some classrooms, the instructors don a microphone and the CAPD students wear small receivers, so that the instructor’s voice is amplified and clarified, making it distinct from other sounds or voices. Some benefits are from improved lighting, because expressions are easier to read on fully-lit faces than on dimly-lit faces.
So therapies are available if your child is diagnosed with CAPD, but keep in mind that step one is diagnosing the condition, and doing this early. If we can help in any way with this, please be sure to get in touch. Let us add our many years of hearing expertise and connections with local Central Auditory Processing Disorder experts to helping your child learn effectively.