Auditory-Verbal Therapy (AVT) is a family-centred approach for children with hearing loss which focuses on developing listening and spoken language. AVT is individualized to meet the unique and specific needs of each and every child through the use of hearing aids and/or cochlear implants. The goal of Auditory-Verbal Therapy is to achieve age-appropriate spoken language and attend mainstream daycares, preschools/nursery schools, and schools.
With the advancement of technology, the majority of children born with hearing loss today have the opportunity to learn how to listen and speak. Learning to listen requires time and the expert guidance of a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist. Therapists work closely with families to set up an appropriate listening environment, learn to be their child’s primary language model, and to help integrate listening and spoken language goals into their child’s daily routines and activities. Families are encouraged to teach their child in their native/home language in order to preserve and build important communication connections and values related to their culture. Needless to say, parents/caregivers play an essential role in their child’s development of listening and spoken language.
Listening and Spoken Language Specialists (LSLS™) are speech-language pathologists, audiologists, or educators of the deaf who have become certified by the AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language in supporting children who are deaf or hard of hearing in developing spoken language and literacy, primarily through listening.
Auditory-Verbal Therapy is most appropriate for the following populations:
- Infants and children who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Infants and children using hearing aids and/or cochlear implants
- Infants and children along with their families who want to develop spoken language through listening
- Infants and children referred for cochlear implant candidacy evaluation (CICE)
The foundation of Auditory-Verbal Therapy follows the international principles outlined by the Alexander Graham Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language (AG Bell).
There are four major factors that are critical to successful outcomes:
- Early diagnosis of hearing loss – the critical period for developing listening and spoken language skills occurs during the first 3 years of life.
- Consistent daily use with appropriate technology – in order to develop the auditory brain, stimulation must occur all waking hours.
- Full family involvement – requires the involvement of the entire family, as the main teaching environment is at home during the child’s daily routines and activities.
- A successful partnership – requires an open, trusting, and supportive relationship between the parents, child, and listening and spoken language specialist.
CSHC provides the following services as part of the Auditory-Verbal Therapy program:
- Individualized early intervention services
- Individualized intervention as part of the cochlear implant program
- Intervention provided in a variety of settings (home visits, clinic visits, FaceTime, and MB Telehealth, etc.)
- Parent education
- Networking for children, parents, & professionals