Compensatory Strategies for Central Auditory Processing Disorder

Children and adults with central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) exhibit difficulty processing information presented verbally resulting in difficulties in language comprehension, following directions, and discriminating differences or similarities among speech sounds. CAPD makes learning new information very challenging. Learning a new word, as well as spelling and reading are also affected by CAPD.

Research is still needed in the area of CAPD; however, most researchers agree that providing individualized direct language and auditory intervention, teaching compensatory strategies, and using environmental modifications may have a positive outcome over the long term (Bellis, 2008).

Compensatory strategies for children or adults with CAPD or other auditory processing disorders are aimed at helping the individual with the disorder to adjust to his or her challenging environment (Geffner, 2013).

Here are a few compensatory strategies for individuals with CAPD:

Eliminate or reduce background noise, e.g., close the door and windows to reduce outside noise or turn off music, etc.
Use noise-reducing headphones when studying or taking a test
Ask for a separate quiet room when taking a test
Sit in front of the room so you can focus on the teacher and instructions
Avoid sitting next to a talkative friend in the classroom
Lip-read when listening at home or school
Pay attention to classroom visuals
Ask the speaker to repeat
Ask the speaker to speak louder
Ask the teacher for clarification or ask the teacher to use visuals
Ask the speaker to paraphrase what was not understood using simpler sentences
Write down the difficult-to-understand words and ask the teacher to explain them in person after class
Ask the teacher to provide what will be covered next time so you can study new vocabulary and prepare ahead of time
Repeat directions out loud to yourself
Use study aids in school such as a tape recorder or iPad with a recording app
Take notes and compare your notes with your classmates
Form a study group with some of your classmates to review material and homework

Geffner, D., Ross-Swain, D. 2013. Auditory Processing Disorders. Assessment, Management and Treatment. Second Edition. 
Bellis, T.J., Anzalone, A.M. Intervention Approaches for Individuals with (Central) Auditory Processing Disorder. Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders. Volume 35. 143–153. Fall 2008© NSSLHA.

Beata Klarowska, M.S. CCC-SLP

Beata Klarowska is an American Speech Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) certified speech and language pathologist, licensed by the state of California.Beata cofounded Virtual Speech Center Inc. in 2011 and, to date, has developed more than 30 apps for speech, language, and cognition.


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