Auditory-Verbal Therapy for kids is a team effort
Parents, teachers, medical pros team up when a child has a hearing loss
Kristina Wahl M.A. CCC-SLP LSLS Cert. AVT
MedCentral Pediatric Therapy
C.J. Fagan, 7, has cochlear implants in both ears because of a hearing loss. His parents, Mark and Elaine Fagan, first brought him to at MedCentral Pediatric Therapy in February 2004 because they were having difficulty understanding his speech. After a hearing screening, C.J. was referred to an audiologist or a full audiological exam, which revealed a hearing loss. He was 3 years old at the time, and he desperately needed sound to reach his brain so his speech could develop. He was fitted with bilateral hearing aids and wore them from the time he woke up until bedtime for four years.
Kristina Wahl of MedCentral Pediatric Therapy reads with patient C.J. Fagan who has cochlear implants in both ears.
The Fagan family experienced a setback this year when C.J. was diagnosed with large vestibular aqueduct syndrome (LVAS), a birth defect of the inner ear. He began to lose what little hearing ability he had, making it impossible for him to hear even with his hearing aids. Because of the severity of his hearing loss, he became a candidate for a cochlear implant. He had surgery Aug. 14 at the Cleveland Clinic and his implants were activated on Aug. 27.
C.J.'s family, his school and medical professionals have all worked diligently to give him the opportunity of spoken language. He was provided with many listening opportunities, aggressive audiological management, had many books read to him
(he can read now) and experienced countless games and puzzles and things to talk about (especially things related to farming, animals and John Deere). Most importantly, they've allowed C.J. to be a typical kid. All of this work has paid off, because C.J. is communicating verbally by using his cochlear implants to hear. He attends second grade with other students with typical hearing at Crestview Elementary School, where he receives support services including speech therapy and audiological management. In addition, he continues to receive private auditory-verbal therapy once a week at MedCentral Pediatric Therapy.
His mother, Elaine said these services "are not option. You have to make the time. C.J. will always be wearing his hearing technology (hearing aids, cochlear implants), attending therapy on a regular basis, reading books, etc."
Auditory-Verbal Therapy helps kids who are deaf or hard of hearing learn how to speak. Auditory therapy promotes early diagnosis, individualized therapy and audiological management and technology. Parents and caregivers actively participate. Through guidance, coaching and demonstration, parents become the primary facilitators of their child's spoken language development. Ultimately, parents and caregivers gain confidence that their child can access to a full range of academic, social, and occupational choices throughout life. Auditory-Verbal therapy must be conducted in adherence to these principles:
- Early diagnosis of hearing loss is crucial followed by immediate audiological management and Auditory-Verbal therapy
- Immediate use of appropriate, state of the art hearing technology (i.e. hearing aids, cochlear implants) to obtain maximum benefits of auditory stimulation
- Guide and coach parents (grandparents, caregivers, and relatives) to help their child use hearing as the primary sensory modality in developing spoken language without the use of sign language or emphasis on lip reading
- Guide and coach parents to create environments that support listening for their child's listening and spoken language throughout the child's daily activities
- Integrate listening and spoken language into aspects of the child's life
- Use natural developmental patterns of audition, speech, language, cognition, and communication
- Guide and coach parents to help their child self-monitor spoken language through listening
- Administer ongoing formal and informal assessments to develop individualized Auditory-Verbal treatment plans, to monitor progress and to evaluate the effectiveness of plans for the child and family
- Promote education in regular schools with peers who have typical hearing and with appropriate support services
Listening and Spoken Language Specialists (LSLS) are Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapists (LSLS Cert. AVT) who have met the eligibility requirements and passed the written test for LSLS certification program.
For more information, call 419-520-2386.