Deaf Children Can Learn to Listen and Speak Too – Auditory Verbal Therapy

Updated: May 3

More than 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents. As this is a life experience that their parents are not exposed to, most of them would feel helpless about the future of their child and unsure of what to expect for the child’s development, education, job opportunities, social circles and etc.

There are a lot of communication options for children with hearing impairment including Sign Language, Cued Speech, Total Communication, Auditory Oral and Auditory Verbal. Auditory Verbal approach is an approach to encourage the child to communicate through listening and speaking.

What is Auditory Verbal Therapy?

The Philosophy of Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT) is for children who are deaf and hard of hearing to learn to grow up in a regular environment that provides him to learn and socialise as others and grow up to be an independent, participating and devoting member of the mainstream society.

In AVT, AV therapist guides and coaches’ parents/caretakers to promote listening and speaking skills in the child with a naturalistic approach. This approach aimed to cultivate listening into the child’s personality. The child is taught to understand that sounds bring important and useful messages and he/she will respond to sounds like their normal hearing peers. Listening will be integrated to the child’s life that it will be one of the fundamental sources of information in their communication, education, recreation, social activities and at work.

The sessions are highly individualised to meeting the family’s and the child’s communication needs. The goals of the session are designed to help the child to build up their communication skills so that they can communicate with listening and spoken language. Targets of the AVT sessions would build on different components of communication including but not limited to AUDITION (ability to respond to sound and make sense of it), LANGUAGE (ability to understand and/or use the common symbols or representations like words to communicate ideas with others), SPEECH SOUNDS (ability to pronounce a sound/ word), COGNITION (ability to process knowledge like thinking, reasoning, problem solving) and SOCIAL SKILLS (ability to communicate and interact with others).

Therapist would lead parents to promote listening and spoken language with Auditory Verbal Strategies (AV Strategies). AV Strategies helps to enhance the quality of child’s listening and spoken language experiences and thereby accelerates the child’s communication development. Parents/caretakers are expected to assimilate AV strategies into their routine and use it at anytime and anywhere.

All AVT sessions should adhere to the Principles of Auditory Verbal Therapy.

  1. Promote early diagnosis of hearing loss in new-borns, infants, toddlers, and young children, followed by immediate audiological management and Auditory-Verbal Therapy;

  2. Recommend immediate assessment and use of appropriate, state-of-the-art hearing technology to obtain maximum benefits of auditory stimulation;

  3. Guide and coach parents to help their child use hearing as the primary sensory modality in developing spoken language;

  4. Guide and coach parents to become the primary facilitators of their child’s listening and spoken language development through active consistent participation in individualised Auditory-Verbal Therapy;

  5. Guide and coach parents to create environments that support listening for the acquisition of spoken language throughout the child’s daily activities;

  6. Guide and coach parents to help their child integrate listening and spoken language into all aspects of the child’s life;

  7. Guide and coach parents to use natural developmental patterns of audition, speech, language, cognition, and communication;