What are the Principles of Auditory-Verbal Therapy?
Principle 1: Promote the early diagnosis of hearing loss in newborns. Infants can be fitted with hearing aids by about four weeks of age. If a newborn fails a screening, testing and diagnosis by an audiologist and the ordering hearing aids usually takes about four weeks if it all happens quickly. Do not let anyone tell you we cannot fit hearing aids on young infants.
Principle 2: Immediate assessment and use of appropriate state-of-the-art hearing technology to obtain maximal benefit from auditory stimulation. Children need to be appropriately fitted with optimal settings. There are still many children with hearing aids who are underamplified.
Principle 3: Guide and coach the parents to help their child use hearing as the primary sensory modality in developing spoken language without the use of sign or an emphasis on speech reading or lip-reading. There needs to be high expectations for listening and that need to be communicated to the parents.
Principle 4: Guide and coach parents as the primary facilitators of their child's listening and spoken language development through active, consistent participation in individualized Auditory Verbal Therapy. It is critical that clinicians are comfortable coaching parents and turning over the session or the activity to them so they can learn how to be great language facilitators at home.
Principle 5: Ensure parents can take what they have learned and integrate those strategies (e.g. language targets, vocabulary, listening strategies) into daily routines at home. Parents need to become language facilitators for their child in natural interactions that are happening within the home.
Principle 6: Guide and coach parents to help their child integrate listening and spoken language into all aspects of their life.
Principle 7: Use natural developmental patterns of audition, speech and language and cognition. Clinicians should follow typical language development and measure children’s progress against typical hearing children or their typical hearing peers.
Principle 8: Guide and coach parents to help their children self-monitor spoken language through listening. Children will develop an auditory feedback loop where they start to self-monitor their own speech. Around age 5-7 children start to self-correct their own speech.
Principle 9: Formal and informal diagnostic measures should be administered to make sure appropriate planning and progress monitoring is occurring.
Dr. K. Todd Houston is an Associate Professor in the School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Akron. His primary areas of research include spoken language acquisition in children with hearing loss, strategies for enhancing parent engagement in the intervention process, Auditory-Verbal Therapy, cochlear implantation in children and adults, adult aural rehabilitation, and telepractice.