How is Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) Diagnosed and What Treatments are Available?

Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD, is a challenging condition to diagnose accurately for several good reasons. Conventional hearing tests don’t always detect CAPD because the disorder stems from the brain, not the ears. Youngsters with CAPD can hear spoken phrases and sounds, especially speech, but their brains incorrectly process the the auditory signals sent by the ears. Second, kids with CAPD often develop coping mechanisms that hide their condition, for example reading speakers’ lips or watching their expressions to gain cues to help them grasp what is being said.

CAPD therapy is tricky for the very same reasons that the identification is challenging. Any person treating children with CAPD needs to be mindful of these traits. Presently there is no definitive cure for CAPD, and no therapy that works well across all children with the disorder, so treatment must be highly individual and adapted for the capabilities and limitations of each patient. But there are treatment methodologies that appear to work, which can considerably boost the prognosis of kids with CAPD.

There are three major categories of CAPD treatments – environmental change, compensatory strategies and direct treatment.

Environmental Change – Altering the child’s learning environment can help since it is known that background noise disrupts their capacity to comprehend language. Therefore using acoustic tiles, wall hangings or curtains to reduce environmental noise may be helpful. In some classrooms, the instructors wear a microphone and the CAPD students wear tiny receivers, so that the teacher’s voice is clarified and amplified, making it distinguishable from other sounds or voices. Even better lighting offers advantages, because expressions are easier to read on fully lit faces than on dimly lit faces.

Direct Treatment – Direct treatment refers to the use of computer-assisted learning programs and 1-on-1 therapy sessions to take advantage of the brain’s inherent plasticity, its capacity to reinvent itself, and develop new ways of thinking and processing. These treatment protocols typically consist of, in the classroom, in therapy sessions or at home, the use of Scientific Education’s “Fast ForWord” software or Hasbro’s “Simon” game to help learners to enhance the sequencing, discrimination, and processing of acoustic inputs. Other kinds of direct treatment use dichotic training (to train children to hear multiple sounds in different ears and still process them correctly), or use the “Earobics” program by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (to strengthen phonological awareness).

Compensatory Strategies – Approaches that concentrate on helping the CAPD pupils to improve their language, memory, problem-solving and attention skills are typically known as compensatory strategies. The main objective of these types of training are to teach children both to take responsibility for their own educational success, and to give them the enhanced skills and techniques they will need to thrive. Lessons designed to strengthen these types of skills might consist of “active listening” exercises or solving word problems.

The good thing is that there are therapy options for children with CAPD. Having said that, early and accurate diagnosis is extremely important to the success of many of these approaches. Also remember that our professional hearing experts are here to assist you in any way that they can and to refer you to other trusted area specialists for the very best CAPD diagnostic and therapy options.

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