There are several good reasons why Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is hard to diagnose properly. The condition isn’t because the child can’t hear words and phrases being spoken to them, but because their brains are unable to interpret and process the words and comprehend them, which implies that conventional hearing tests don’t always catch CAPD. One more reason it is hard to diagnose is because kids often acquire advanced coping mechanisms. These kids can be pros at using facial expressions or reading lips to disguise their disorder.
CAPD therapy is challenging for the very same reasons that the detection is tough. Anyone treating children with CAPD must be aware of these characteristics. At this point there is no recognized cure for CAPD, and no treatment that works equally well across all kids with the disorder, so treatment must be highly individual and fine-tuned for the limitations of each patient. However there are treatment protocols that appear to work, which can vastly boost the prospects of kids with CAPD.
There are three major categories of CAPD treatments – compensatory strategies, environmental change and direct treatment.
Environmental Change – Because background noise considerably hinders a person with CAPD’s ability to comprehend language, lowering the level of environmental noise by way of soundproofing, such as curtains, acoustic tiles and wall hangings, will help. Another strategy is selectively augmenting the voice of the instructor in a classroom. The teacher wears a microphone and the CAPD pupil wears a tiny receiver. This combination helps make the instructor’s voice more distinct from other voices and sounds.Even improved lighting may help, because a dimly-lit instructor’s face isn’t as easy to read for clues as to what they’re saying as a fully lit face.
Direct Treatment – Computer-aided learning programs and one-on-one sessions fall under the category of direct treatment. These approaches rely upon the brain’s inherent plasticity and ability to construct new neurological pathways and abilities. These treatment plans commonly consist of (in the classroom, in therapy sessions or at home) the usage of Hasbro’s “Simon” game or Scientific Education’s “Fast ForWord” educational software to help students to enhance the sequencing, discrimination, and processing of acoustic events. Other types of direct treatment use dichotic training (to train children to hear multiple 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 concentrate on supporting the CAPD individuals with better skills in attention, language, memory, problem solving, and other critical daily living strategies. These therapies give learners better living skills and techniques that enable them to be successful at learning, and also make them learn to take responsibility for their own academic success. Such strategies often include sessions of active listening and activities or games based on the solving of word problems.
So if your child is identified as having CAPD, rest easy realizing that there are therapies available to improve it, but do not forget that early and accurate diagnosis is the key to effective treatment. Don’t forget that our professional hearing professionals are here to help you in any way possible and to refer you to other trusted local specialists for the best CAPD diagnostic and treatment choices.