Parents of children with hearing loss are increasingly utilizing listening and spoken language as ways to improve language acquisition and comprehension. The state of North Carolina reports that parents are choosing spoken language options over visual communication systems approximately 85% of the time.
Early intervention in children with severe or profound hearing loss can have tremendous outcomes. Understanding of diagnoses within weeks of birth is key to determining best practices in treatment and therapies for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Coupled with advanced hearing technology and auditory-verbal therapy, these techniques have enabled children to make significant improvements in listening, speech, language, cognition, and conversational competence.
Listening and Spoken Language Specialists (LSLS) are certified professionals who work with parents and their children who are deaf or hard of hearing in settings such as homes, public schools, clinical centers, and audiological centers. The Alexander Graham Bell (AG Bell) Academy for Listening and Spoken Language endorses the following principles for LSLS:
- Promote early diagnosis of hearing loss in newborns, infants, toddlers, and young children, followed by immediate audiologic management and Auditory-Verbal therapy.
- Recommend immediate assessment and use of appropriate, state-of-the-art hearing technology to obtain maximum benefits of auditory stimulation.
- Guide and coach parents to help their child use hearing as the primary sensory modality in developing listening and spoken language.
- 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.
- Guide and coach parents to create environments that support listening for the acquisition of spoken language throughout the child’s daily activities.
- Guide and coach parents to help their child integrate listening and spoken language into all aspects of the child’s life.
- Guide and coach parents to 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 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.
- Promote education in regular schools with peers who have typical hearing and with appropriate services from early childhood onwards.