There are several good reasons why Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD, is difficult to diagnose properly. Conventional hearing tests do not always catch CAPD because the condition originates in the brain, not the ears. Youngsters with CAPD can hear spoken phrases and sounds, especially speech, but their brains improperly process the signals sent by the ears. One more reason it is hard to diagnose is because children often develop advanced coping mechanisms. These children may be pros at using expressions or reading lips to conceal their condition.
These characteristics of Central Auditory Processing Disorder also make treatment of the condition challenging, because any individual trying to enhance the child’s speech comprehension must continuously remain cognizant of them and develop approaches to work around them. Unfortunately there is no recognized cure or treatment for CAPD that works well across all kids. Each treatment plan is highly personalized and adjusted based on the patients’ capabilities and limitations. With that said, there are a number of treatment protocols which are greatly strengthening childrens’ learning prognosis.
Central Auditory Processing Disorder therapy falls into three primary categories – environmental change, direct treatment and compensatory strategies.
- Compensatory Strategies – The group of methods including attention, memory, problem-solving and language improvement skills is called compensatory strategies. These particular therapies give students better coping skills and techniques that enable them to do well at learning, and also make them learn to take responsibility for their own learning success. Lessons intended to improve these types of skills might contain “active listening” drills or solving word problems.
- Direct Treatment – Computer-aided learning and one-on-one therapy sessions fall under the category of direct treatment. These strategies make use of the brain’s inherent plasticity and ability to establish new neurological pathways and abilities. These treatment options routinely include, in the classroom, at home or in therapy sessions, the use of Hasbro’s “Simon” game or the “Fast ForWord” educational software from Scientific Education to help pupils to improve the sequencing, discrimination, and processing of acoustic inputs. Some direct CAPD therapy uses dichotic training which trains the brain on hearing multiple sounds in different ears and analyzing the blended inputs correctly. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s “Earobics” program, is also employed by some professionals to strengthen phonological awareness.
- Environmental Change – In the category of environmental change one technique is lowering the level of ambient noise via soundproofing and putting in acoustic tiles, curtains or wall hangings because surrounding noise is proven to make it harder for an individual with CAPD to comprehend speech. In certain school rooms, the teachers don a microphone and the CAPD pupils wear small receivers, so that the teacher’s voice is amplified and clarified, making it distinct from other sounds or voices. Some benefits are from better lighting, because lips and expressions are easier to read on fully lit faces than on dimly-lit faces.
So treatments are available if your child is diagnosed with CAPD, but bear in mind that the first step is identifying the condition, and doing this early. If there is a way we can assist with this, please phone or email us. Allow us to add our years of hearing expertise and connections with local Central Auditory Processing Disorder specialists to helping your child learn properly.