Auditory Verbal Principles



So, now that we know what Auditory-Verbal is, we should talk about some of the principles behind this method of therapy.  Listening for Life has a great article summarizing this, and I will be using some of their references here.

The philosophy of Auditory-Verbal Therapy (AVT) is for deaf and hard of hearing children to grow up in a regular learning environment, enabling them to become independent, participating, and contributing citizens in the mainstream society. (Stith)

What I have noticed is the main difference between traditional speech therapy and AVT is that AVT is  a parent-centered approach.  The parents are directly involved and essential to the maximum progress with this therapy approach.  AVT incorporates hearing (access to sound), listening goals, expressive and receptive language goals, articulation goals, cognitive goals, and social goals.  All of which are taught to the parent to duplicate outside of the therapy room.

Some of the principles listed on Listening for Life are:


  • "Detect hearing impairment as early as possible through screening programs, ideally in the newborn nursery and throughout childhood
  • Pursue prompt and aggressive audiological management and maintenance of appropriate aids (hearing aids, cochlear implants, etc.)
  • Guide, counsel, and support parents and caregivers as the primary models for spoken language development and to help them understand the impact of deafness and hearing impairment on the entire family.
  • Help children integrate listening into their development of communication and social skills.
  • Help children monitory their own voices and the voices of others in order to enhance the intelligibility of their own speech.
  • Use the developmental patterns of listening, language, speech, and cognition to stimulate natural communication.
  • Continuously assess and evaluate children's development and, through diagnostic intervention, modify the program when needed.
  • Provide support services to facilitate children's educational and social inclusion in regular education classes."
- From the Auditory Verbal Position Statement

I truly find this approach to therapy fascinating and rewarding.  There is so much to learn! I will forever be learning how to help my little listeners.  I should take a moment to say that I am also interesting in learning how to improve auditory skills in children who sign.  While I am a true listening and spoken language advocate, I do recognize the very personal decision made by our parents to choose the path that is best for their own child.  I want to support the children and families in whatever they choose and provide the best possible therapy I can.   ASHA had a very interesting article in the Leader this past month regarding supporting auditory skills in children who sign.  Look for a review of that article in a future post!

Now that I've covered what AVT is and some (SOME) of the principles, next will be some techniques you can implement into your everyday therapy for children who are hearing impaired.

Also, what topics would you like to see discussed here? I'm open!  In the meantime, here are some terms that you can become familiar with on our journey.  Once again, these are all on the Listening for Life website.

  • "Learning to Listen Sounds- The list of sounds that are used to represent objects. For instance, "aaah" represents an airplane and "moo" represents a cow. They are used with the beginning listener.
  • Ling 6 Sound Test- A test of listening that is done periodically throughout the day where the child which requires the child to respond to 6 sounds (ah, oo, ee, sh, s, and m) presented auditorally. The child completes an action or imitates the sound when heard. These sounds represent the sounds across the frequency range for speech.
  • Modeling- The verbal-visual demonstration of what you want the child to do, especially for imitation purposes. For instance, if you wanted the child to drop a block in a box upon hearing a sound, you the parent would model this for the child.
  • Suprasegmentals- The way in which we use vocal qualities such as stress, duration, pitch, and volume, to relay the meaning being said. Intonation. It is with these intonation/suprasegmental changes in our speech that we are able to make a question or a statement with the same words, ( i.e. You're going to the beach? Or You're going to the beach.)
  • Critical Elements- The parts of a message that contain the critical information in regard to comprehension of the message (i.e. Pick up the blue circle after the red square. This sequence has 5 critical elements)
  • Residual Hearing- The amount of hearing an individual has at various frequencies without his/her hearing aid/cochlear implant.
  • Hearing Age- The length of time the child has been receiving auditory input. (i.e. a 3 year old child who was born deaf, and received her cochlear implant at 2 years of age, as a hearing age of 1 year.)
  • Motherese - Speech used by parents/caregivers in talking with young children to help them in learning language.
  • Acoustic Highlighting- Techniques that can be used to make speech easier to hear.
  • The Hand Cue- is covering of the mouth (by hands, a toy, book, picture, etc.) during speaking when the child is looking directly at the face of the speaker."



















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