Central Auditory Processing Disorder, abbreviated CAPD, is a complex disorder to diagnose accurately for many good reasons. Standard hearing tests don’t consistently identify CAPD because the condition stems from the brain, not the ears. Youngsters with CAPD can hear spoken sounds, especially language, but their brains improperly process the information sent by the ears. Also, kids who have Central Auditory Processing Disorder often develop coping mechanisms to hide or mask their condition; they cannot really understand the words people are speaking, but they figure out how to read expressions or their lips to pretend to understand.
These characteristics of CAPD also make treatments for the condition tricky, because anyone trying to enhance the child’s speech understanding must constantly keep them in mind and develop approaches to work around them. At this point there is no generally accepted cure for CAPD, and no treatment that works equally well across all kids with the condition, so therapy must be individualized and adapted for the limitations of each patient. Nevertheless, there are a number of therapy protocols which are greatly boosting childrens’ educational prognosis.
There are three major categories of CAPD treatments: compensatory strategies, environmental change and direct treatment.
Environmental Change – Within the class of environmental change one tactic is decreasing the level of ambient noise via soundproofing and putting in curtains, acoustic tiles or wall hangings because surrounding noise is known to make it much harder for an individual with CAPD to process speech. Increasing the volume of selective voices in the school room is also helpful; the teacher dons a microphone and the CAPD student puts on a small receiver that raises the teacher’s voice to make it more distinguishable from other speakers or sounds. Even improved lighting provides benefits, because facial expressions are simpler to read on well lit faces than on dimly lit faces.
Direct Treatment – Direct treatment means the use of computer-aided learning and one-on-one sessions to make the most of the brain’s inherent plasticity, its capacity to transform itself, and develop new ways of thinking and processing. Such methods include the usage of Scientific Education’s “Fast ForWord” software or Hasbro’s “Simon” game to improve students’ ability to discriminate, order, and process the auditory inputs they hear. Other types of direct treatment use dichotic training (to train children to hear various 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 focus on assisting the CAPD individuals with improved skills in language, memory, attention, problem solving, and other important daily living strategies. These therapies give students improved living techniques and skills which allow them to succeed at learning, and also make them learn to take responsibility for their own academic success. Practice sessions designed to improve these sorts of skills might consist of solving word problems or active listening drills.
So therapies are available if your child is diagnosed with CAPD, but keep in mind that the initial step is properly diagnosing the disorder, and doing so at the earliest age possible. Also remember that our professional hearing professionals are here to help you in any way possible and to refer you to other trusted area experts for the very best CAPD diagnostic and therapy choices.