There are many good reasons why Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is challenging to diagnose correctly. For starters, the problem is not grounded in the ears’ inability to pick up sounds (specifically speech), but on the brain’s inability to interpret and process them appropriately; this can confound standard hearing tests that measure childrens’ capacity to hear tones and clicks. Another reason it is hard to diagnose is because kids often develop sophisticated coping mechanisms. These kids can be experts at reading lips or using facial expressions to disguise their condition.
The same characteristics that make Central Auditory Processing Disorder challenging to identify also make it challenging to treat; any individual working with a child with CAPD needs to keep these traits in mind. Presently there is no known cure for Central Auditory Processing Disorder, and no treatment protocol that works equally well for all children with the disorder, so treatment must be highly individual and adapted for the limitations of each patient. With that said, there are a variety of therapy protocols which are considerably boosting kids’ developmental prospects.
These methodologies are usually described using three broad categories: environmental change, direct treatment and compensatory strategies.
- Compensatory Strategies – Strategies that concentrate on helping the CAPD pupils to improve their attention, problem-solving, language and memory skills are typically called compensatory strategies. The main objective of the compensatory strategies is to train skills that on the whole improve learning and academic success while also training CAPD learners to be accountable for their own learning. Such strategies frequently include lessons in “active listening” and games or activities based on the solving of word problems.
- Direct Treatment – Direct treatment means the use of computer-aided learning and one-on-one therapy sessions to take advantage of the brain’s inherent plasticity, its ability to transform itself, and develop new ways of processing and thinking. Software and games such as the “Fast ForWord” software from Scientific Education or Hasbro’s “Simon” game are used as therapy tools. These exercises help students improve sequencing, discrimination 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. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s “Earobics” program, is also employed by some therapists to develop phonological awareness.
- Environmental Change – Within the class of environmental change one technique is lowering the level of ambient noise via soundproofing and installing acoustic tiles, wall hangings or curtains because surrounding noise is proven to make it more difficult for someone with CAPD to process speech. Another strategy is amplifying the voice of the instructor in a classroom. The teacher wears a microphone and the CAPD student wears a tiny receiver. This combo makes the instructor’s voice more distinct from other sounds and voices in the room.Even lighting may help, because a dimly lit instructor’s face is not as easy to scan for hints as a fully lit face.
The good news is that there are treatment possibilities for children with CAPD. However, an early accurate diagnosis is vital to the success of most of these methods. Should you have additional questions about CAPD diagnosis and therapy choices, don’t hesitate to ask any of us. If our superb staff can’t help you we can refer you to the very best local resources.