In simple terms, CAPD is defined as when a person hears words spoken, but their brain cannot process the words normally. Central auditory processing disorder occurs when the ear and the brain do not work together, which interferes with the way a child perceives what is heard. Assuming your child's hearing is good (and this should be verified by an audiologist), auditory information breaks down somewhere beyond the ear.
What types of behaviors do children with CAPD exhibit?
What are the academic symptoms of CAPD?
Children with CAPD may have any or all of the following deficits.
What can we do to help children with CAPD in school?
1) Seat the child near the source of instruction to allow the speaker to talk directly to the child. This helps reduce the interference of background noise.
2) Get the child's full attention prior to giving instructions using a tactile prompt such as a pat on the hand, calling the child's name, or establishing eye contact.
3) Reduce both auditory and visual distractions which compete for the child's attention. Other conversation and movement are the worst of these distractions.
4) Speak distinctly, using as few words as possible, as too much talking can act as a distraction to the child.
5) Simplify instruction using one-step directions. Write down key words or assignments for students who can read.
6) Have the student re-verbalize instruction, directions or conversations. This helps the student recall what was heard, and allows the teacher to monitor comprehension.
7) Structure the environment as much as possible, using a consistent routine.
8) A buddy system can be helpful, especially with older students, to check notes and assignments.
9) Visual aids provide good reinforcement for students with weak auditory skills.
10) Breaks during the day may be necessary for the child to relax. Tension and fatigue can occur when children are constantly straining to attend and comprehend what is going on around them.
11) Amplification systems, both personal and free field, allow students to hear the teacher more clearly with less interference from background sounds.
12) It is most important to allow the student to experience as much success as possible to promote a good self concept. When children are frustrated with themselves as well as having academic difficulties, it is hard to stimulate interest to build skills that will help restore confidence.
What can we do to help children with CAPD away from school?
Homes are increasingly noisy places with TVs, radios, siblings, etc. Try to have a set study time when no TVs or radios are being played in the house. Don't try to carry on conversations across large rooms, while the TV is playing or if the child is in another room. This will only frustrate the both of you.
Away from home, be aware of the environment. Your child may have problems at church and other places of gathering. Many public buildings have hard, reflective walls resulting in reverberations. Be aware that these types of listening environments are frustrating and difficult for children with CAPD. Remember to:
Your child needs your consistent support and advocacy.