Gifted Children with CAPD

Gifted Children with CAPD
CAPD refers to the diagnosis of Central Auditory Processing Disorder. It is quite possible for a child to be intellectually gifted, yet also to experience significant challenges as a result of CAPD. Children with CAPD can hear sounds but have trouble interpreting these sounds normally. Gifted children who have CAPD are often accused of being lazy, not paying attention, or making careless errors when they experience these interpretation problems. It can be extremely frustrating and demoralizing for the child with CAPD to be told again and again that he is not measuring up to his potential.

How do you know of your child has CAPD? There are some symptoms to look for, but every child suspected of having a disability such as CAPD should be assessed by a qualified professional. Call your child's doctor and request a referral to a recommended audiologist who can test for CAPD. Signs that a child may have auditory processing deficiencies are:

1.confusion or difficulty listening when background noise is present
2.discomfort in noisy environments
3.difficulty following or recalling verbal instructions, especially multi-step directions
4.difficulty remembering any information presented verbally
5.mixing up similar sounding words or sounds
6.relatively weak skills in spelling, reading, and writing
7.organizational issues and general forgetfulness
8.difficulty hearing people on the phone

Not every child who qualifies for a CAPD diagnosis will have every one of these symptoms. There are degrees of disability as well; some kids may be much more seriously affected by CAPD than others. In some cases, children appear to outgrow CAPD as their brains mature, while others are challenged by CAPD throughout their lives. A good rule of thumb is that a gifted child who performs 2 or more years below their calculated mental age (MA) should be accommodated. A nine year old who is mentally 12 but performs at the level of a ten year old requires intervention. (Bellis, 1996)

Gifted children who are twice exceptional (having two labels, gifted plus some type of disability) need to have both their strengths and weaknesses addressed. Strategies for accommodation of gifted students with CAPD include:

1.reducing background noise
2.making eye contact while speaking
3.a gentle touch on the shoulder while speaking
4.presentation of visual cues, charts, and props to reinforce lectures
5.providing teacher notes or notes from a fellow student
6.closed captioning for educational videos educational programs

Helping a child with CAPD focus in class might be as simple as moving her desk to the front of the room and excusing her from the responsibility of taking her own notes. If a child is having trouble getting information from a lecture, it is only going to complicate matters to have her divide her attention between trying to focus on the words and jot down notes. Above all, it is important to assist these students by offering our support and not berating them for under achievement.

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