Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is a difficult condition to diagnose correctly for several reasons. Traditional 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 improperly process the information received from the ears. Furthermore, kids who have CAPD often establish coping mechanisms to conceal or disguise their disorder; they can’t truly understand the words people are speaking, yet they figure out how to read their lips or their expressions to pretend to understand.
CAPD therapy is complicated for the very same reasons that the diagnosis is tricky. Any individual working with a child to treat CAPD needs to be alert to these characteristics. At present there is no recognized cure for CAPD, and no therapy that works equally well for all kids with the disorder, so therapy must be individualized and adapted for the limitations and capabilities of each patient. That said, there are a variety of treatment protocols that may considerably improve the learning abilities of children with CAPD.
There are three major categories of Central Auditory Processing Disorder treatments: compensatory strategies, environmental change and direct treatment.
Direct Treatment – Direct treatment methods include the use of computer-aided learning and one-on-one therapy sessions to make the most of the brain’s inherent plasticity – the ability to establish new neural pathways or ways of thinking. Software and games such as Hasbro’s “Simon” game or the “Fast ForWord” educational software from Scientific Education are used as treatment tools. These exercises help learners enhance discrimination, sequencing and processing of auditory inputs. Other types of direct treatment use dichotic training (to enable children to hear multiple sounds in different ears and yet process them accurately), or use the “Earobics” program by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (to improve phonological awareness).
Compensatory Strategies – Compensatory strategies concentrate on supporting the CAPD sufferers with better skills in problem solving, language, attention, memory, and other critical daily living strategies. The main focus of these types of training are to teach children both to take responsibility for their own learning success, and to give them the improved techniques and skills they need to do well. Such techniques often include lessons in “active listening” and activities or games based on the solving of word problems.
Environmental Change – Within the category of environmental change one strategy is reducing the quantity of background noise via soundproofing and installing wall hangings, curtains or acoustic tiles because background noise is proven to make it more difficult for a person with CAPD to comprehend speech. Amplifying voices in the classroom can also be effective; the instructor dons a microphone and the CAPD pupil puts on a small receiver that raises the instructor’s voice to make it more distinguishable from other speakers or sounds. Some benefits are from improved lighting, because expressions and lips are simpler to read on fully lit faces than on dimly-lit faces.
So if your child is identified as having CAPD, relax realizing that there are treatments available to address it, but keep in mind that an early accurate diagnosis is the key to effective treatment. Should you have additional questions about CAPD diagnosis and treatment options, commentary ask us. In the event that our terrific team can’t assist you we can refer you to the best area specialists.