Working Through Audition
What do you think of when you think of the United Kingdom (UK)? Do images of the Queen come to mind? Teapots with scones and jam? Pubs brimming with pints of beer? Black taxis and red post boxes? This imagery paints a very positive British picture, but sadly, the picture for children who are deaf and hard of hearing in the UK is not so positive. The National Deaf Children’s Society reports children who are deaf and hard of hearing are falling behind in Britain. Less than half (43 percent) reach the expected standard for reading, writing and math at age 7, compared to three quarters (74 percent) of other children.
There are similar concerns when entering school, with just over half (53 percent) of children who are deaf and hard of hearing reaching the expected standard for reading, compared to 84 percent of their classmates.
Did you Know There are now 23 Certified LSLS Auditory Verbal Therapists (AVTs) in the UK?
Estimates of the number of children with severe to profound hearing loss in the UK under the age of five years are between 6,400 and 7,200. There are now 23 certified therapists, which is more than many countries in the world.
But with full caseloads, these UK-based therapists can only provide therapy for less than five percent of children who are deaf and/or hard of hearing under 5 years old across the country. Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK) helps babies and young children with a hearing loss to develop their full potential to listen and talk, through an auditory verbal therapy programme. In addition to working with families UK-wide and globally, AVUK offers many practical courses designed for professionals working with children with hearing loss. The aim is for every child who is deaf and/or hard of hearing to have the opportunity to receive auditory verbal therapy close to where he or she lives, if that is what his or her parents choose.
Breaking Down Barriers for Children who are Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing
Approximately 80 percent of all children who spend at least two years on the programme at AVUK achieve age-appropriate language, and most attend mainstream school.
On average, children who are deaf and/or hard of hearing and have additional and often complex needs also double their rate of language development in the Auditory Verbal UK programme. One in two reach age appropriate spoken language at the end of their programme.
These additional needs can include cognitive, physical, medical, dual sensory impairment, specific speech and language impairments/disorders, behavioral and/or emotional problems, and many children have multiple needs across these categories leading to the descriptor of “complex needs.” The very nature of each child’s additional needs means that, as a group, they form a heterogeneous population so these children are frequently excluded from research studies investigating Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) outcomes.
For children with and without additional needs, the earlier they start the programme, the better the prognosis for language development. It has also been found that 97 percent of children who are deaf and hard of hearing without additional needs reach or exceed their age-appropriate spoken language level at the end of the Auditory Verbal UK programme (Hitchins & Hogan, 2018).
Training the Next Generation of AVTs in the UK and Worldwide
AVUK offers training accredited by the AG Bell Academy up to certification level and will be providing additional learning opportunities for certified AVTs.
For professionals starting their journey, AVUK’s Foundation course Working Through Audition is accredited by the AG Bell Academy. The course is designed to equip professionals with core skills needed to develop auditory practice when working with children with hearing loss and with their families to address this critical need at a local level.
The training is designed for speech language pathologists/therapists, audiologists and teachers of the deaf with a pre-school caseload working in the field of hearing loss. Working Through Audition contains 36 hours of teaching by an LSLS Cert. AVT, split into six modules. It is delivered either through a combination of podcasts and live interactive webinars, or face-to-face training, plus video and written assignments. Within each module participants are given assorted handouts along with references for additional readings around the topic.
Since 2012, more than 100 professionals completed our foundation course. Global friends bring us closer together, and global access to auditory verbal therapy will continue to change the outcomes for children around the world.
For more info on AVUK, contact Frances Clark by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.