Globally, there is a great shift towards listening and spoken language for children who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Amazing auditory options, state-of-the-art hearing aids, and a variety of implantable hearing devices and the pursuit of excellent (re)habilitation by highly qualified practitioners working in partnerships with families, will hopefully become the standard of international health care and educational intervention for children with hearing loss around the world.
It is the work of therapists, teachers, audiologists, surgeons, social workers, and allied practitioners in health care and education to guide, navigate, and coach parents on their search for the treasure chest of spoken communication—to help them help their children discover the valued jewels of hearing, listening, and spoken conversation. Practitioners everywhere form alliances of hope and trust with parents, and together we polish these precious gems until they sparkle and dance with life.
Why would one ever consider compromising when so much is possible?
We hope that one day we will look back and see an abundance of evidence-based outcomes, all barriers to equitable service gone, and a global focus on literacy with a deep understanding of powerful auditory access to the brain provided by state-of-the-art hearing technologies.
Renaissance man and mentor of many of today’s auditory-verbal practitioners, Dr. Daniel Ling, wrote that “auditory-verbal therapy… developed as a result of the natural outcomes of advances in knowledge, skills and technology. As such advances occurred, new treatment strategies were devised to maximize their applications”.
“Auditory-Verbal Therapy is now widely accepted because more children are acquiring, or have already acquired, the abilities to use spoken language, to interact more freely with other members of society, to obtain higher levels of academic education, and to have a more extensive range of careers, a greater security of employment and fewer limitations on the personal and social aspects of their lives” (Estabrooks, 2006).
Through universal newborn screening programs, advanced hearing technology, and family-centred education and therapy, most children with hearing loss can benefit greatly from Auditory-Verbal Therapy. Today, the ongoing pursuit of evidence-based Auditory-Verbal Therapy continues to yield greater possibilities than ever before for children who are born with hearing loss or who acquire hearing loss in early childhood. These children and their parents are transforming “a grey world of silence into a colorful world of sound” (MacIver-Lux, 2005).
Most of these children are learning to listen to their own voices, listen to the voices of others, and listen to all the other sounds of life. By learning to listen, they are learning to talk. By learning to listen and talk, they are learning to communicate through spoken conversations. By learning to listen and talk they are learning to read and write. By learning to listen and talk, they are achieving the dreams of an abundant academic and social life held for them by their parents.
In our pursuit of excellent science and artful Auditory-Verbal Therapy, as described in Auditory-Verbal Therapy for Children with Hearing Loss and Their Families, and the Practitioners Who Guide Them, we can build an outstanding community of success, as we appreciate the journey and the many transitional destinations. As we continue to chart the course, we can appreciate the many lessons provided from the story of Noah’s ark:
- Don’t miss the boat
- Remember we are all in the same boat
- Plan ahead – It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark
- Listen to the critics – Then just get on with the job that needs to be done
- Build your future on high ground
- For safety’s sake, travel in pairs
These lessons are the focus of Auditory-Verbal Therapy.
Auditory-Verbal Therapy: For Young Children with Hearing Loss and Their Families, and the Practitioners Who Guide Them will be available May 30, 2016. You can pre-order the book here.
This book is relevant to AVT practitioners, administrators, teachers of children with hearing loss, special educators, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, surgeons, primary care physicians, and parents.
About the Author
Warren Estabrooks, M.Ed., Dip. Ed. Deaf, LSLS Cert. AVT, is President and CEO of WE Listen International Inc., a global consulting company in Toronto, Canada. He and his team provide professional education, training, and development in Auditory-Verbal Therapy for practitioners who work with children with hearing loss and their families around the world. For many years, he was Director of the Auditory Learning Centre of the Learning to Listen Foundation at North York General Hospital in Toronto. He was also a Founding Director of Auditory-Verbal International and a Founding Director of the AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language. He is the Honored Patron of the Warren Estabrooks Centre in Sri Lanka. He is a Canadian of Distinction, recipient of numerous professional and humanitarian awards, and has made significant contributions to the literature.