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Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD or APD) are a problem that affects children and can be one of the causes of poor academic performance. Typically, the problem in children is the inability to process incoming sound signals when the hearing aid is working properly. The work of auditory analyzers is disrupted, and not the auditory system itself. With hearing loss, the problem is caused by damage to the ear or the inability to perceive sound through the hearing organs. However, in children with CAPD, both sensorineural and conductive hearing are normal. This dysfunction occurs in the central, nervous part of the auditory system and manifests itself in improper processing of auditory stimuli, and not impaired hearing itself. In simple terms, it’s as if you are in a foreign country — you hear the language spoken by people, but you don’t understand anything. This is exactly what happens to children with hearing impairments. Even today, scientists have not been able to determine what specifically affects the human brain, depriving it of the ability to understand and distinguish information using the hearing organs. To provide effective assistance to such children, you should pay attention to alarming symptoms as early as possible and send the child for a specialized examination, and, if necessary, for treatment and rehabilitation.

What are the causes of the disorder?

There can be many different reasons. There are some primary disorders, the natures of which are unknown. There are also a number of factors that influence the occurrence of CAPD:

  • prematurity of the fetus,
  • fetal hypoxia,
  • head injuries,
  • lead poisoning,
  • chronic infections and inflammations of the middle ear,
  • a genetic predisposition, for example, dyslexia.

Extended periods of time in front of televisions and/or computers may also become a common risk factor.

How do you know if your child is suffering from CAPD?

Children with Auditory Processing Disorders most often have difficulties: with concentration, listening to or understanding the teacher, reading and writing, hearing in a noisy environment, and difficulties with speech development. With CAPD, children may have problems learning their native language and differentiating sounds. Sound impulses reach the brain, but the brain cannot decode them. Children with this disorder can hear and recognize certain sounds normally in very quiet environments. The problem usually occurs when the differences between the sounds in words, even when they are pronounced clearly, are subtle. This often happens in noisy environments such as a playground, sports events, or a school cafeteria. Children suffering with this disorder may not understand speech that is not directed directly to them. A similar situation occurs with questions and requests addressed to them — in this case, the child’s wrong reaction often arises, especially when the question or request is long and complex.

Symptoms of Central Auditory Prccesing Disorders can range from mild to severe, taking many forms.

To provide effective assistance to such children, you should pay attention to alarming symptoms as early as possible and send the child for a specialized examination, and, if necessary, for treatment and rehabilitation. It should be noted that the diagnosis of CAPD should not be made before the child reaches seven years of age, since before the age of seven, the child may not understand the test instructions for identifying this disorder, and the interpretation of the tests performed will be rather difficult.

We look for the following symptoms:

  • difficulty understanding speech in unfavorable acoustic conditions (for example, when several people speak at the same time, in noisy rooms, etc.),
  • problems with paying attention,
  • fatigue after being in a noisy environment,
  • delayed speech development,
  • disturbance of intonation and voice, which can take the form of slow and quiet speech or very loud and fast speech,
  • a problem with completing multi-stage tasks and requests addressed to the child (especially in the form of one sentence),
  • difficulties understanding long conversations,
  • misunderstanding statements (for example, “I heard what you said, but did not understand what you meant”),
  • poor auditory memory (problems with remembering and repeating information heard),
  • overemphasis on minor, distracting auditory irritants,
  • dysgraphia — trouble with writing,
  • problems with reading, incorrect combination of sounds in syllables and words,
  • spelling mistakes in writing,
  • focusing on the speaker’s voice, not on the meaning of what is said,
  • problems remembering the sequence of sounds (for example, the multiplication table, the name of the months, etc.),
  • problems with fluency of speech.

Depending on the degree of the disorder, the diagnosis of central auditory impairment consists of:

– Medical history

– Complete audiological diagnostics

– Electrophysiological tests

– Speech therapist consultation

– Consultation with a psychologist

How can you help a child who has normal hearing but has a Central Auditory Processing Disorder?

The SPPS-S therapy according to the method of prof. Skarzyński is an innovative method for people with hearing impairments. In addition to auditory stimulation, the therapy stimulates vision, touch and their mutual coordination, which ultimately allows the patient to better integrate the received stimuli. An important innovation in this method is the combination of auditory stimulation with a psychological training program. Simultaneous psychological therapy with practical training of auditory functions is most effective for patients with CAPD. The child often hears well, but perceives reality incorrectly on an emotional level. During therapy, the patient learns to correctly perceive and understand emotions, to control their thoughts and behavior in various social situations.

Working with SPPS-S consists of three steps. The therapist, after carrying out a certain diagnosis, enters all the data obtained into the SPPS-S Panel. The next step is the therapist’s programming of the complex SPPS-S device, which will allow this therapy to be carried out.

The SPPS-S device includes: headphones with a built-in microphone, providing bone and air sound conduction; a SPPS attachment with the function of modifying the sounds used in therapy; and an iPad designed for multimedia games and psycho-educational exercises.

The duration of this therapy consists mainly of 3 stages, each of which lasts 5 or 15 days. During each day of therapy, classes last from two to three hours and consist of three parts: passive listening to specially modified sounds, relaxation, and multimedia and psycho-educational games. The therapy also includes tasks utilizing a microphone.

SPPS-S therapy can take place in a specialized therapy unit or at the patient’s home. Depending on the patient’s ability, their individual needs, economic and organizational aspects, there are a number of factors that affect the location of this therapy. For example, there is the possibility of renting equipment — in this case, the patient does not need to come to the therapy center for classes every day.

  • Kuyavian-Pomeranian Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus
  • Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus in Kraków
  • Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus in Warsaw
  • Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus in Opole
  • Subcarpathian Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus
  • Pomeranian Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus
  • Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus in Radom
  • Silesian Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus
  • Warmian-Masurian Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus
  • West Pomeranian Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus
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