• Stacy Crouse

What You Want To Know About Auditory Verbal Therapy

In 2017, I became the first Certified Auditory Verbal Therapist in Iowa. Because this approach to intervention is not well-known in my geographic area, I do get lots of questions about it. So, I wanted to answer some of the most commonly asked. Look for future posts to give more insight into how to utilize Auditory Verbal techniques!

What is Auditory Verbal Therapy?

Listening and Spoken Language, also known as Auditory Verbal Therapy is one of many choices for communication for children with hearing loss. In this approach, children learn speech and language through listening, by way of cochlear implants, hearing aids and/or other hearing technology. Using these advanced hearing technology devices, children with hearing loss learn language in the same way that children with normal hearing do: by accessing sound and following a typical progression of speech and language milestones.

How does a child begin to receive Auditory Verbal Therapy?

When a child is identified as having a hearing loss, either at birth or as a young child, parents are faced with many questions. What, if anything, will my child be able to hear? Will my child be able to communicate? How will my child communicate? How will education look for my child? Professionals (such as audiologists, speech language pathologists, pediatricians, social workers, teachers of the deaf, etc.) should immediately step in to provide the parents with non-biased information to help lesson these concerns. They should be given examples, current research, and local and national resources to help them understand the complete range of communication choices. It is the parents that then choose what mode of communication meets their desired outcome and family dynamic. In summary, choices are provided and parents choose.

How is Auditory Verbal Therapy different from speech therapy?

Auditory Verbal Therapy is a specialized type of speech therapy that requires a professional (Listening and Spoken Language Specialist/Auditory Verbal Therapist) with an extensive knowledge base of utilizing modern hearing technology to promote listening and spoken language outcomes. There are several key elements of this type of intervention. The first is promoting early diagnosis of hearing loss and audiological management of hearing aids and/or cochlear implants. Once a child is fitted with appropriate hearing technology, emphasis is placed on using audition to learn speech and language. Another crucial part of auditory verbal therapy is that it is family-centered intervention that focuses on teaching the parents and caregivers to become the primary facilitators of the child's speech, language and listening skill development. Auditory Verbal Therapy sessions always have at least one parent (or guardian) present. The parent actively participates in the entire session, and the AVT guides and coaches the parent on how to become the primary facilitator of goals within the session and at home for the rest of the week.

What about sign language?

Auditory Verbal Therapy does not include the use sign language, as some other communication choices do. Instead, emphasis is placed on auditory input, although use of natural gestures and facial expressions are encouraged. Many people ask me if I sign with my clients/students. I do know some sign and have used it with some clients/students in the past. However, the parents of these children had chosen a Total Communication method so I was not doing Auditory Verbal Therapy in these instances.

Where can I find an Auditory Verbal Therapist in my area?

To find a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist in your area, visit the AG Bell website, HERE.

How can I become an Auditory Verbal Therapist?

There process of becoming an AVT takes 3-5 years and has several components. To find out more information, please visit the AG Bell Academy website HERE.

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