Identifying Central Auditory Processing Disorder, abbreviated CAPD, is challenging for several reasons. Standard hearing tests don’t consistently detect CAPD because the disorder stems from the brain, not the ears. Children with CAPD can hear spoken sounds, especially language, but their brains incorrectly process the the auditory signals sent by the ears. Second, children with CAPD often acquire coping mechanisms that conceal their predicament, such as watching speakers’ facial expressions or reading lips to obtain cues to help them grasp what the person is saying.
The identical characteristics that make CAPD challenging to diagnose also make it difficult to treat; any individual working with a child with CAPD must keep these factors in mind at all times. There is at present no definitive cure for CAPD, and therapy for the condition must of necessity be personalized and adjusted to the limitations of each Central Auditory Processing Disorder patient. That said, there are a range of treatment protocols that can vastly enhance the developmental abilities of children with CAPD.
There are three major categories of CAPD treatments: direct treatment, compensatory strategies and environmental change.
Compensatory Strategies – Compensatory strategies focus on helping the CAPD patients with improved skills in language, problem solving, attention, memory, and other critical coping mechanisms. The focus of the compensatory strategies is to coach skills that generally enhance academic success while also teaching CAPD learners to take responsibility for their own academic progress. Such strategies routinely include lessons in active listening and games or activities based on the solving of word problems.
Direct Treatment – Direct treatment means the use of one-on-one sessions and computer-aided learning to take advantage of the brain’s inherent plasticity, its ability to transform itself, and construct new ways of thinking and processing. Computer software and games such as Scientific Education’s “Fast ForWord” educational software or the “Simon” game by Hasbro are employed as treatment tools. These activities help students enhance discrimination, ordering and processing of auditory information. Some direct CAPD therapy uses dichotic training which trains the brain on hearing many sounds in different ears and processing the blended information correctly. The “Earobics” program by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is also used by some therapists to develop phonological awareness.
Environmental Change – Modifying the child’s learning environment may help since it is known that background noise disrupts their capacity to comprehend speech. Therefore employing curtains, acoustic tiles or wall hangings to lessen environmental noise may be helpful. In some classrooms, the instructors don a microphone and the CAPD pupils wear tiny receivers, so that the instructor’s voice is amplified and clarified, making it distinct from other voices or sounds. Even improved lighting may help, because a dimly-lit instructor’s face isn’t as easy to scan for hints as a well-lit face.
Therefore if your child is diagnosed with CAPD, rest easy realizing that there are treatments available to improve it, but keep in mind that an accurate early diagnosis is the key to effective treatment. If there is a way we can assist with this, please be sure to contact us. Allow us to add our years of hearing expertise and connections with local CAPD experts to helping your child learn properly.