Central Auditory Processing Disorder, abbreviated CAPD, is a complex disorder to diagnose correctly for several reasons. The condition is not because the children can’t hear words being directed at them, but because their brains lack the ability to process and interpret the words and grasp them, which implies that standard hearing tests don’t consistently catch CAPD. Second, children with CAPD tend to establish coping mechanisms that conceal their disorder, such as observing speakers’ facial expressions or reading lips to gain cues to help them grasp what the person is saying.
These particular traits of CAPD also make therapy for the disorder tricky, because anyone working to enhance the child’s speech comprehension must continuously remain cognizant of them and look for approaches to work around them. Presently there is no generally accepted cure for CAPD, and no therapy that works well across all children with the disorder, so therapy must be individualized and adjusted for the capabilities of each patient. Having said that, there are a number of treatment methodologies that may greatly enhance the learning abilities of kids with CAPD.
These methodologies are usually described using three broad categories: compensatory strategies, environmental change and direct treatment.
- Direct Treatment – Direct treatment means the use of 1-on-1 sessions and computer-assisted learning programs to make the most of the brain’s inherent plasticity, its capacity to reinvent itself, and develop new ways of processing and thinking. These treatment methods commonly include, at home, in the classroom or in therapy sessions, the use of the “Simon” game by Hasbro or Scientific Education’s “Fast ForWord” educational software to help students to enhance the discrimination, sequencing, and processing of acoustic events. Some direct CAPD therapy uses dichotic training which trains the brain on hearing multiple sounds in different ears and processing the blended information accurately. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s “Earobics” program, is also used by some specialists to improve phonological awareness.
- Environmental Change – Because background noise considerably hampers an individual with CAPD’s ability to process speech, reducing the level of environmental noise via soundproofing (wall hangings, curtains and acoustic tiles) can help. In certain school rooms, the teachers wear a microphone and the CAPD students wear small receivers, so that the teacher’s voice is clarified and amplified, making it distinct from other voices or sounds. One more environmental change is better lighting. A fully lit face is easier for an individual with CAPD to “read” for comprehension clues.
- Compensatory Strategies – Compensatory strategies concentrate on helping the CAPD patients with improved skills in memory, problem solving, attention, language, and other critical coping mechanisms. The main focus of these sorts of training are to coach kids both to take responsibility for their own learning success, and to provide them with the improved techniques and skills they will need to thrive. Strategies and techniques in this category consist of exercises in “active listening” and solving word problems.
Therefore if your child is diagnosed with CAPD, rest easy realizing that there are treatments available to address it, but bear in mind that an accurate early diagnosis is the key to effective treatment. Also remember that our professional hearing professionals are here to help you in any way that they can and to point you to other respected area experts for the very best Central Auditory Processing Disorder diagnostic and therapy options.