Parents in Louisville can attest to the difficulty in raising children nowadays. It is even harder when your child experiences learning difficulties. Often the signs point to hearing loss, but in some cases, the culprit is actually a behavioral disorder known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder, or CAPD.
The Symptoms of CAPD
If your Louisville child seems to have difficulty hearing and only understands part of what is being said, the obvious assumption is that they are experiencing hearing loss. This isn’t necessarily the case, though – especially when they lose focus and have particular trouble following conversations when multiple people are speaking. These children may actually be suffering from a Central Auditory Processing Disorder. An estimated five percent of school-age children in Kentucky will be diagnosed with CAPD, a condition that affects their ability to process information accurately. These kids aren’t having problems because of inner ear damage; their trouble stems instead from an inability to process information correctly due to a disconnect between what they are hearing and how their brain responds. In fact, the majority of children with CAPD have no trouble hearing at all.
CAPD ranges in severity from mild to severe. Your child may exhibit difficulty with any of the following:
- Hearing in noisy environments
- Following conversations
- Staying focused
- Paying attention
- Reading and spelling
- Following directions
- Remembering verbal information
- Processing nonverbal information
Detecting and Treating CAPD
Children with CAPD may suffer from withdrawal, isolation, and depression, and often become disruptive in class and at home. They are prone to taking unnecessary risks and lashing out at others. CAPD affects their listening and communication abilities, can hamper academic success, and may cause poor social interactions with others. Detection and treatment are key.
Unfortunately, the problem is often misdiagnosed initially. Because symptoms of CAPD closely mimic hearing loss or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), it may take a while to understand what is causing your child’s symptoms. A thorough examination by a qualified audiologist in Louisville is necessary to rule out any physical hearing problems and test their hearing ability over a range of frequencies. Once hearing loss is eliminated, behavioral and electrophysiological testing will be given.
Treatment often involves a team approach. An audiologist, speech-language pathologist, teacher, parent, and counselor all may have roles to play. Treating CAPD centers around one of three approaches: direct skills remediation targeting the skills associated with auditory processing ability; compensatory strategies that focus on improving language, memory, and attention to strengthen listening, communication, and social skills; and environmental modifications to improve acoustical clarity.
The exact approach depends on the severity of your child’s diagnosis. Scheduling an appointment with a Louisville audiologist is your first step. Don’t delay – the sooner they receive treatment, the better the outcome.