Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)
Auditory Processing Disorders are often overlooked and as the condition is becoming more widely known, professionals are taking a closer look at how it affects children and their education. CAPD can affect children with perfectly normal hearing as well as those with hearing loss. Typically the child cannot process sound fast enough to be able to distinguish normal language. If a teacher or parent is talking to a child at 50 miles per hour but the child is processing at 45 miles per hour, there is a problem. The child gets tired of trying to keep up and tends to get frustrated and tune out. This is often described as "lazy" or "inattentive." The problem transfers from listening to reading. For children with normal vocabularies, reading is simply transposing a known language into a different format. But for children with CAPD, reading amounts to learning a whole new language.
Children with CAPD need help in the classroom to process language faster so that they may follow directions, learn efficiently and develop language skills. They need to learn how to process more efficiently and effortlessly so that reading can become automatic and subconscious, freeing the mind for comprehension. Fortunately there is computer software available that provides the student with the work plans and drills necessary for increasing the student's competence. FastForWord has information online at www.FastForWord.com and with centers all over the US and overseas, the program has a growing reputation for successful results.
In the day to day routine of a classroom however, teachers need to make provision for their CAPD students whose inability to process messages can lead to frustration, irritation or hostility. First, seat the child in the front of the classroom and be aware that CAPD children teach themselves to lip read. Teachers should get the child's undivided attention before asking a question or giving an explanation, and instructions should be clear, simple and written as well as verbal. Teach the child to listen selectively for keywords and make sure the child understands what was being communicated. Technology is a wonderful addition to a classroom and the computer, tape recorder and overhead projector are valuable resources for CAPD students, especially when taking tests.
As with other students with learning disabilities, the emphasis should always be on keeping parents, other teachers and professionals informed of a student's progress, needs and individual development. Involving the student in their own lesson plans and goal setting is the other building block and with specialized help from speech-language therapists, the outcomes for CAPD students are highly promising.