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Hearing problem or attention issue?

Shortly after emigrating from South Africa in 1996, Carol Lau opened her audiology clinic – Sound idEARS Hearing & Listening Clinic – in Vancouver, Canada.  While her practice was doing well as a hearing aid dispensing clinic, she was frequently requested to administer hearing tests on school-aged children by family doctors, teachers and parents.  A typical complaint would be : “I don’t know if it’s his hearing or attention.  Sometimes my kid seems to hear everything but gets easily distracted by noise, at other times, he won’t even answer me when I call!”  Another mom commented : “I can’t give her more than one instruction at a time – it’s hopeless if I give her more.  She comes home after school and doesn’t know what homework she needs to do.  Her teacher says that she day-dreams and doesn’t ask questions even if she doesn’t know what to do.”  Invariably, each and every one of these children had normal hearing abilities.

With an increasing demand for answers, Carol began testing for Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD).  At that time, CAPD testing and diagnosis was limited to a handful of institutions in North America.  It was unusual for a private practice clinic to perform CAPD testing and the demand was immediate and huge.  Answers were beginning to emerge as CAPD diagnoses were made : “I knew it wasn’t an attention issue.  Finally, we’re getting somewhere.”  No sooner had her CAPD testing clinic become established that the inevitable : “What next?” emerged.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD): from research to treatment.

Today, CAPD diagnosis is well established with clear testing guidelines, however, CAPD therapy remains elusive and lacking a clear clinical footprint.  Around 2000, when Carol began to research CAPD treatment, she found that very few therapy options were based on the audiological neuroscience of CAPD.  There were “listening comprehension” worksheets, “following directions” exercises and phonic-based programs, but none of those addressed the fundamental deficits that had been identified in her testing.  Audiology clinics in a small number of universities were administering in-house therapy programs but, in general, CAPD treatment was rare, infrequent and highly specialized.  As a result, CAPD therapy was wholly inaccessible to the majority of the population and required extensive travel and time commitments by families to audiology clinics which were few and far between.

Enter Dichotic Listening Training.

Inspired by the work of Dr Frank Musiek, Dr Teri Bellis and others, Carol focused her attention on developing deficit-specific CAPD therapy options for her clients.  Faced with a growing list of parents looking for treatment options, Carol produced a series of therapy programs using a dichotic listening paradigm – that, today, we recognize as the predecessor versions of CAPDOTS™.  What began as a take-home, CD-based program that morphed into an in-house web-based system, has now evolved into the current commercially-available version, with each stage building on the success of the previous version – not just in the improvement in CAPD test scores but also from parent and teacher feedback.

CAPDOTS™-Integrated Therapy Yields Positive Results.

Carol’s therapy has yielded heartening feedback from parents, teachers and other therapy professionals.  “I can’t believe the change I’ve seen – he’s like a different child.  Last weekend he decided to take a book with him instead of his DS – unbelievable”.  Another mom described the change at home very aptly : “I think my blood pressure has dropped, I don’t have to nag as much anymore.”  Academic improvements were also astounding – especially reading and spelling skills.  Parents reported significant changes in self-awareness, self-confidence and also self-advocacy, combined with an improved ability to use language as a social tool.  These changes were repeatedly confirmed by improvements in post-therapy test results.

Your Challenges are Personal…to Us.

Finally, Carol is the mother of two, that includes a precious, beautiful daughter with CAPD.  At the age of 4 yrs, her daughter was given a dismal prognosis as a scholar and from psycho-educational testing was projected not to be able to attend regular school.  Today, her daughter is a happy, successful, confident Grade 8 student in regular, mainstream school.  Carol knows and understands the pain, the frustration, the challenges and the fear that comes with CAPD.  But, Carol has also witnessed first-hand, the power and success of appropriate therapy and is passionate about sharing this with those individuals and their families affected by CAPD.

Read more: Carol Lau

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