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Communication Disorders
Communication Disorders

Auditory Verbal Therapy

Auditory-Verbal Therapy (AVT), Auditory Skills Development (ASD), and Cochlear Implant Rehabilitation are the programs offered through Aural (Re)Habilitation as part of the SickKids’ Cochlear Implant Program.   The guiding principles through the Academy of Listening and Spoken Language for LSLS Cert. AVTs ( A. G. Bell Association) are followed.  Parents become the main learners, in order to help their own children, through the guidance offered by and modeled by the therapist.  In AVT we capitalize on modern technology and use special auditory verbal (AV) techniques and strategies to maximize listening through cochlear implants or conventional amplification in order to emphasize listening as being the basis for the development of all areas of spoken communication. 

In AVT we follow the hierarchies of development (as per children who have typical hearing) in the development of auditory skills, speech, vocabulary and language (both receptive and expressive) and cognition.

We carry out Speech and Language assessments as part of the candidacy criteria in the Cochlear Implant Program.   We also may carry out pre-implant therapy as well as AVT for young babies and children younger than age 6 through the Province’s Infant Hearing Program.  We see school-aged children through 18- years of age, and we carry out ASD for children who have Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorders (ANSD).

Who is eligible for these services?

Referrals are made through the Cochlear Implant Program or Infant Hearing Program.   Children with permanent hearing losses who have hearing aids, children who are candidates or recipients of cochlear implants, and children with ANSD may all be referred.

What types of assessments and treatments do you offer?

In additional to the formal speech/language assessments for potential candidates for cochlear implantation, we carry out ongoing appropriate formal assessments at regular intervals for the children receiving therapy through our program.   All of our tests are normed on children who have typical hearing and communication development.  Goals are regularly set, at least partly, from the results of such assessments. Checklists offer tracking as an ongoing informal means of ensuring development in the various areas the child is developing.

Are there any special instructions for preparing for your assessment/treatments?

A set appointment is agreed on between the parents and the therapist.  Most sessions are conducted on a weekly basis.   A parent must be present and actively involved.  The time spent in therapy depends on a number of factors before discharge is considered.  

How long will we be in therapy?  

This depends on many factors; we look at the needs, progress, and readiness for discharge.  

Most children who have permanent hearing losses CAN learn to listen with the help of appropriate amplification devices or cochlear implants, develop spoken communication skills and integrate into their local schools and regular classes and into society.   It takes the teamwork of a number of professionals, including AVTs, and the children’s parents/ caregivers to make this a reality.