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Auditory Verbal Therapy

by Rena Levi, M.A.,CCC-SLP, CERT AVT, SPEECH PATHways, Maryland

Thanks to amazing advances in medical technology, almost all children with a hearing impairment can learn how to listen using powerful hearing aids or a cochlear implant. Auditory-Verbal Therapy teaches these children how to maximize their listening skills. The aim of Auditory-Verbal Therapy is for the children to be integrated into their regular community and local school with appropriate speech and language skills.

The Auditory-Verbal approach considers parent/caregivers as essential team members and that their contribution to their child's development is invaluable. Parent/caregivers are the primary models for listening and spoken language development. The therapist's role is to teach the parent/caregivers how to fulfill this role to the utmost benefit for their child. Parent/caregivers learn to provide a positive learning environment in which their child learns through listening. An Auditory-Verbal Therapist is first qualified as an audiologist, speech therapist and/or teacher of the deaf. The professional then completes specialized training in Auditory-Verbal Therapy and adheres to the principles of Auditory-Verbal Practice. Auditory-Verbal Therapists seize the auditory component of any life experience and promote and develop the use of sound for speaking and understanding spoken language. They also embrace the knowledge that children are motivated to learn language most effectively when playing and interacting with family who love them.

Principles of Auditory-Verbal therapy:

  1. Promote early diagnosis of hearing impairment in newborns, infants, toddlers, and children, followed by immediate audiologic 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 without the use of sign language or emphasis on lipreading.
  4. Guide and coach parents to become the primary facilitators of their child’s listening and spoken language development through active consistent participation in individualized Auditory-Verbal therapy.
  5. 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.
  8. Guide and coach parents to help their child self-monitor spoken language through listening.
  9. Administer ongoing formal and informal diagnostic assessments to develop individualized Auditory-Verbal treatment plans, to monitor, progress and to evaluate the effectiveness of the plans for the child and family.
  10. Promote education in regular classrooms with typical hearing peers and with appropriate support services from early childhood onwards.

(Adapted from the principles developed by Doreen Pollack, 1970)

Article submitted by: Rena Levi, M.A.,CCC-SLP/Cert.AVT, Speech-Language Pathologist and Auditory Verbal Therapist. For more information, readers can contact her at 410-374-0555 or
on ISER at:

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


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