There are a number of good reasons why Central Auditory Processing Disorder, abbreviated CAPD, is hard to diagnose correctly. The disorder isn’t because the children can’t hear words being spoken to them, but because their brains are unable to interpret and process the words and grasp their meaning, which implies that conventional hearing tests don’t always catch CAPD. A further reason it is difficult to identify is because children often acquire advanced coping mechanisms. These kids can be experts at reading lips or using expressions to hide their problem.
These characteristics of CAPD also make treatment of the condition difficult, because any person wanting to improve the child’s speech comprehension must constantly remain cognizant of them and develop methods to work around them. At present there is no definitive cure for Central Auditory Processing Disorder, and no treatment protocol that works well for all children with the condition, so treatment must be highly individual and adjusted for the capabilities of each patient. Nevertheless, there are a variety of therapy protocols that are greatly improving kids’ learning prognosis.
These methodologies are usually described using three broad categories – environmental change, direct treatment and compensatory strategies.
Environmental Change – Within the category of environmental change one tactic is lowering the quantity of background noise via soundproofing and installing acoustic tiles, wall hangings or curtains because surrounding noise is known to make it more difficult for someone with CAPD to process speech. In certain classrooms, the teachers wear a microphone and the CAPD students wear small receivers, so that the instructor’s voice is clarified and amplified, making it distinguishable from other sounds or voices. Some benefits are from improved lighting, because lips and expressions are easier to read on well lit faces than on dimly lit faces.
Direct Treatment – Direct treatment methods include the use of computer-assisted learning and 1-on-1 sessions to take advantage of the brain’s natural plasticity – the ability to establish new neural pathways or modes of thinking. Software and games such as Scientific Education’s “Fast ForWord” educational software or Hasbro’s “Simon” game are utilized as therapy tools. These activities help students enhance ordering, discrimination and processing of auditory information. Some specialists use dichotic training to develop the kids’ ability to hear many sounds in different ears and process them correctly, while others use Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s “Earobics” program to develop phonological awareness.
Compensatory Strategies – Compensatory strategies focus on supporting the CAPD patients with better skills in attention, problem solving, memory, language, and other vital everyday living strategies. The main focus of these forms of training are to coach children both to take responsibility for their own learning success, and to provide them with the improved skills and techniques they need to succeed. Such strategies frequently include sessions of “active listening” and games or activities grounded in solving of word problems.
Therefore if your child is diagnosed with Central Auditory Processing Disorder, rest easy knowing that there are treatments available to address it, but take into consideration that an early accurate diagnosis is vital to successful treatment. Should you have additional questions about Central Auditory Processing Disorder diagnosis and therapy options, don’t hesitate to ask us. If our wonderful staff can’t help you we can help refer you to the very best area specialists.