Communication Considerations A to Z™

Auditory-Verbal Therapy?

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What is Auditory-Verbal Therapy?

In the typical Auditory-Verbal Therapy (A-V) model, listening is the primary avenue for the child to learn language. Hearing aids, cochlear implants and other recommended hearing technologies are used to help the child hear spoken language, which provides the foundation for learning how to talk. Signs are not used in the A-V approach; however, natural gestures that are used in typical conversation are included.

What issues are at the forefront of Auditory-Verbal Therapy?

Auditory-Verbal Therapy is provided by professionals from the fields of speech/language pathology, audiology and education of the deaf and hard of hearing. Those professionals with the designation Cert. AVT have fulfilled the requirements to be certified Auditory-Verbal Therapists. Others may practice Auditory-Verbal Therapy, and may be working towards certification. Families are encouraged to ask about the professional’s background, training and experience.

What should every parent or professional know about Auditory-Verbal Therapy?

Auditory-Verbal Therapy can be used with most children; regardless of whether that child’s hearing loss is in the mild through profound range. The goal is for the child to develop age-appropriate language abilities while living and learning fully in the mainstream, from the time the hearing loss is identified. Families who choose A-V are committed to working as partners with their child’s A-V therapist. The role of the A-V professional is to inform, coach and support families as they learn how to be the most important teacher in their child’s life.

Where else can I find information about Auditory-Verbal Therapy?

Alexander Graham Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language

50 Frequently Asked Questions About Auditory-Verbal Therapy
Warren Estabrooks, M.Ed. Cert. AVT
Learning To Listen Foundation
Available at

Children With Hearing Loss: Developing Listening and Talking Birth to Six
Elizabeth Cole, Ed.D, CCC-A, Cert. AVT
Carol Flexer, Ph.D., CCC-A, Cert. AVT
Plural Publishing (


Judy Harrison, M.A.

Judy is the Director of Professional Programs at the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She is an experienced teacher of the deaf who has specialized in early intervention, family services and cochlear implants. Judy represents AG Bell on the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing and the Council on Education of the Deaf. She is developing programs for professionals in the field of hearing health to enhance their abilities to serve children with hearing loss and their families to develop spoken language.

Gayla Hutsell, M.A., CCC-A/SLP, Cert AVT

Gayla is the State Coordinator of Indiana’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program. Prior to the recent return to her home state, Gayla was employed for nearly four years with the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Washington, D.C. preceded by thirteen years as a Clinical Supervisor in Child Hearing Services within the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Department at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Gayla has extensive experience as a pediatric audiologist and speech-language pathologist.



* Communication Considerations A to Z™ is a series from Hands & Voices that's designed to help families and the professionals working with them access information and further resources to assist them in raising and educating children who are deaf or hard of hearing.  We've recruited some of the best in the business to share their insights on the many diverse considerations that play into communication modes & methods, and so many other variables that are part of informed decision making.  We hope you find the time to read them all!

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