How to help your child manage Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Sound enriches our experience of the world. But noisy classrooms can make it tough. Children assessed as having Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) often struggle in social settings and in school. This can lead to a lack of confidence or the perception that they are disruptive or disinterested in activities. 

Fortunately, there are ways to help your child manage CAPD and improve their ability to hear and, by extension, their ability to engage with others. A child with CAPD can be supported through three different approaches:

Change of environment

To improve the hearing of your child you can make changes to the environment. This includes informing their teacher so classwork can be done in a quieter setting or reducing the amount of time they spend in noisy places. Environmental changes can also include incorporating assistive listening devices, such as FM systems, into your child’s daily life.

Auditory training

Some forms of CAPD benefit from training. This doesn’t have to be a boring chore. App games like Sound Storm might look like your standard game, but train children to focus on one sound over another. These can be done at home and with parental supervision to ensure it’s done correctly. Auditory training should only be used at the recommendation of your audiologist.

Teaching coping strategies

There are a number of skills your child can develop that may help them operate more effectively in listening and learning situations.

Whole-body listening approach

Have your child sit up straight, incline their upper body and head to the speaker, maintain eye-contact and keep an eye on the speaker.

Self-regulation and problem solving

Alert your child to their listening strengths and weaknesses, identify potential situations where listening may be difficult (for example, during sport) and encourage them to think of possible solutions to improve their listening (for example, move to a quieter corner) and then evaluate the effectiveness in the situation.

Vocal rehearsal

Encourage your child to repeat information outloud to remember it better.

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