What is Auditory Verbal Therapy?

As a parent, you want to be sure the A-V therapist for your child is a Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist. Jim and Lea Watson became certified in the first class of certified Auditory-Verbal Therapists in 1994. Certification assures that the professional has the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to teach listening and spoken language in the most efficient way.

Auditory-Verbal Therapy enables those who are deaf or hard of hearing to use their hearing to listen, process verbal language, and speak. Through Auditory-Verbal Parent Guidance Therapy, families make listening and speaking a natural part of daily life. Since 1980, parents choosing Auditory-Verbal Therapy for their children come to AVCC for support and direction. Following a logical set of guiding principles, parents become the primary teachers for their child’s listening and speaking skills. Listening then becomes an integral part of the child’s personality.

Newborn Hearing Screening allows infants in the early days of their lives to begin this process. Auditory-Verbal Therapy is a highly effective method using technology for developing the maximum use of hearing. This approach brings meaningful sound to the brain naturally. Clear speech, natural spoken language and strong literacy skills are results of Auditory- Verbal Therapy. Auditory-Verbal “graduates” can communicate with anyone, using spoken language throughout their lives. Adults who receive a cochlear implant choose Auditory-Verbal Therapy for the same reasons.

AVCC follows Principles of Auditory- Verbal Therapy. We use Auditory-Verbal techniques, but the most important aspect of Auditory-Verbal Therapy is when parents understand and live the philosophy that people who are deaf or hard of hearing can learn to listen and speak. As the child develops, AVCC supports the parents as part of the educational team. We collaborate with audiologists, early intervention programs, cochlear implant centers, and school systems. Auditory-Verbal Therapy expects children to be included in mainstream education starting at preschool.

Principles of LSLS Auditory-Verbal Therapy

1. Promote early diagnosis of hearing loss in newborns, infants, toddlers, and young 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 parentsą 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 parentsą to become the primary facilitators of their child's listening and spoken language development through active consistent participation in individualized Auditory-Verbal therapy.

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

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

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

8. Guide and coach parentsą 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 schools with peers who have typical hearing and with appropriate services from early childhood onwards.

*An Auditory-Verbal Practice requires all 10 principles.

ąThe term "parents" also includes grandparents, relatives, guardians, and any caregivers who interact with the child.

(Adapted from the Principles originally developed by Doreen Pollack, 1970)
Adopted by the AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language®,           July 26, 2007. Posted on the AGBell website.


AVCC provides a Professional Mentoring Program using the Standardized Curriculum first established by AVI, Inc® with updates from the AGBell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language. Since 1994 the Watons have assisted many professionals with the A-V certification process. Lea Watson received the 2007 Helen Beebe Award for Mentors from the AGBell Association. She served as a subject matter expert in the writing of the 2008 international exam for Certification as a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist. Many professionals seek to be trained and certified, due to the success of Auditory-Verbal Therapy.


The Auditory-Verbal Approach is based on proven theory that most children who are deaf or hard of hearing have some residual hearing ability which can be utilized. With hearing aids this hearing can be sufficiently stimulated early on in life so that speech, language, and listening can be naturally developed. This also applies to children who listen with cochlear implants. The key is to detect hearing loss as early as possible and begin the therapy process immediately. With the passage of the Newborn Screening Bill, hearing impairment is detected at an earlier age and more infants have the opportunity to learn to listen using Auditory-Verbal Therapy Parent Guidance Therapy.

Studies show that Auditory-Verbal Parent Guidance therapy works well for families who have children with all levels of hearing loss: mild, moderate, severe, and profound. The brain is naturally wired for learning language through hearing.

The Auditory-Verbal Therapist guides the parents to emphasize hearing as the primary means for their child to acquire the natural ability to speak. The brain is naturally tuned to process spoken language through the sense of hearing. This occurs with consistent hearing aid and/or cochlear implant use along with intensive experience in listening. Parents and Auditory-Verbal Therapists may spend several years working together, developing language skills, social skills, and refining the speech of the child through lessons and activities performed at the center and at home. Therapy at the Auditory Verbal Communication Center is diagnostic and demonstrative. Parents are active participants in the sessions and are required to do “homework” in between each session. Parents are encouraged to record the weekly goals and the daily progress towards that goal. Parents and therapists keep an “Experience Book” for the child to review important language used at home and in therapy.

Natural language emerges from the child without the use of instruction in lip reading and/or sign language. Auditory-Verbal professionals agree that sign language and lip reading at an early age inhibit the child’s dependence on LISTENING to acquire language. The goal is to teach children that sounds have meaning, to lock hearing into a child’s personality. Children progress through inclusion in regular neighborhood schools from early childhood onwards. The Auditory- Verbal Therapist may continue as part of the child’s educational team.

Because parents are active participants throughout the therapy process, they become the primary teachers for their children. With support and direction from the Auditory-Verbal Therapist, parents become effective advocates who understand their children’s needs.