Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Auditory

When the CAPD {Central Auditory Processing Disorder} diagnosis came for my daughter, I had read about it extensively, and felt I had somewhat of a handle on what the doctor would say {at least that was what I told myself}.  What I wasn't prepared for was when she said it was "dual hemispheric".  I didn't read about that part.  Turns out it is not very common.  Google it.  Tell me what you come up with.  You will not find anything~at least I didn't.  I should play the lottery more, really...

That means both sides of the brain are equally affected by this inability to process auditory information.  This is significant because what I had learned was that we all have a dominant side of our brain when processing auditory information.  Typically our right side receives the auditory signal more clearly because as the auditory signal enters your right ear, it follows a straight path over to the left side of your brain, where your language processing areas are located.  Have you ever wondered why every time you answer the phone, you probably put the phone to your right ear?  Hmmm...  How about that? Now if you are one of those people who can use either ear, like, it doesn't matter to you~well, you are showing off, so stop it. Okay, I'm joking...but your brain must be really well wired or something. 

I will draw a picture of this to make it a little clearer...if you are one of the people who has educational contact with my daughter, then you are already familiar with my sketches to help you understand my girl.  It's as much for me as it is for you~promise.

{Please forgive the grainy photo, my computer became possessed after I made this up, and as a last resort, my daughter had to save me with taking a picture of the screen with her ipod touch....I'll take it. 
I have been going nuts}


OK, back to the science.  So when the auditory signal enters the left ear, it has quite a road to travel.  Remember, your language processing centers are located on the left side of your brain.  But, guess what?  The signal doesn't just creep up the left side of your head.  No, it has to travel to the right side of your brain {where it realizes that the right side mainly handles artistic tasks, music, patterns...} then make a turn to head back over to the left side where it can find all of those language processing areas {you know, all the logical thought processes: language, math, order...}. 

So imagine all of the opportunities the signal has to get messed up along the way, especially when the road to language areas is longer.  The interesting part about my daughter is that she does not have a dominant side. Both sides showed equal interference when receiving signals during testing.  Remember, her hearing is perfect {yet she complained frequently that she could not hear the teacher in school}.  What she perceived as hearing difficulty was really a processing difficulty.  To ensure that the testing was not flawed in any way, the doctor continued to test, and the results repeated themselves.
Fascinating, really.  But you really don't want your kid to be fascinating at the doctors office, you know?   Sometimes that can lead to more questions...

So what can be done to help kids with CAPD?  Well, there are lots of things, and some of the below links are great resources to help your child.  One of the best accommodations is the use of an FM System {Frequency Modulation}.  In our school district {Appoquinimink}, we are lucky to have  "Sound Field Systems" in place in our classrooms.  You can read about them here, and on Phonic Ear's website.  Not only are they beneficial for children with processing needs, there is significant research that shows the systems use is beneficial for every child in the classroom.  In a nutshell, the teacher wears a microphone that amplifies their voice at a constant level above all the other noise in the classroom {like rustling papers, the hum of the lights, chairs scratching on the floor}, making it easier to decipher what signal they need to attend to~like the teacher.  All of those "extra sounds" in a classroom might seem negligible to us as adults, but to children with any processing issue, ADHD, or if they have been deemed as a "kid" {that is a joke}...they can be deafening.  Kids don't always have the ability to filter out that noise on their own.  The Sound Field System does the filtering for them, so they can focus. 
Hey, that is one of those invisible accommodations I talked about before...if you didn't see that post before, feel free to check it out. 


To read what the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has to say about CAPD, click here.

An excellent document on CAPD can be found here where the disorder is discussed more in depth.  Read the whole document if you have the time.  It's worth it.

Have a great day!

{Jenn}

PS-Remember, if you have any questions you'd like answered, just ask!

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