The ability to process auditory information is a crucial part of communication. Individuals with auditory processing disorder, (APD; also called central auditory processing disorder—CAPD) have unimpaired hearing, but have difficulty processing sound through the central nervous system. This difficulty processing and understanding sound can cause a range of problems, particularly in children, since they do so much learning and growing through listening. Last week, we talked about the signs and symptoms of APD and how to get an official diagnosis. Today we’ll talk about a few of the ways that a speech-language pathologist can help a child with APD:
Treating Auditory Processing Directly: In recent years, a wide range of direct treatments for APD have been developed with varying rates of success. Treatments range from computer-based remediation programs to intense one-to-one training. A speech-language pathologist can help a child and their family navigate the options available and decide which is best for their particular situation.
Compensatory Strategy Training: Children with APD can often compensate for their challenges by strengthening other skills like memory, attention, problem-solving, and language. A speech-language pathologist can also provide active listening and problem-solving strategies and exercises that children can use to improve their likelihood of successful listening.
Environmental Changes: Speech therapists can work with a child’s family and educational team to make sure their environment gives them as many advantages as possible. Recommendations are made based on the child’s particular strengths and challenges and help the child focus on the auditory information as effectively as possible. This might include specific teaching strategies, electronic devices or aids, or modification of the auditory environment (e.g., ambient noise reduction).
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