Listening and Spoken Language Therapy

By Sylvia Rotfleisch and Maura Martindale
December 29, 2022

If you are a professional who is currently, or will be, providing individual therapy to children with any degree of hearing loss, this book is for you! If you are teaching a college-level course about using auditory-based approaches for children with hearing loss, this book is also for you! 

Listening and Spoken Language Therapy for Children With Hearing Loss: An Auditory-Based Guide (which includes web-based tools!) presents professionals, professors, and university students with practical ideas for listening and spoken language (LSL) therapy sessions. The accompanying videos, quizzes, PowerPoint slides, discussion questions, and activities guide university students in their therapy-based fieldwork and lesson planning. The many lists, tables, and figures will be useful when presenting information to parents and other members of the child’s team.

The book begins with a detailed and easy to understand chapter on speech acoustics, the primary basis for learning language through listening. It is essential for professionals to have a thorough understanding of this information in order for an auditory-based therapy approach to be successful. This foundation knowledge will help to ensure that children with hearing loss have access to, and use, all the sounds of spoken language.

Next, the book presents an exciting new model of viewing the development of listening and spoken language based on stages, not ages. This habilitation model is an auditory-based therapy that follows typical child development in each domain: listening, speech, language, and the cognitive and social components of communication. It provides professionals with abundant strategies to be included in any auditory-based sessions for a child with hearing loss and their parents. Each stage of the model is presented in a color-coded chapter with specific behaviors to identify where each child fits into the model:

  • Prelinguistic Stage
  • Single Word Stage
  • Word Combination Stage
  • Communicating with Childlike Errors Stage
  • Competent Communicator Stage
  • Advanced Communicator Stage

The stages are clearly defined but there may be differences within each stage of what individual children are able to do. For instance, a newly identified child in the prelinguistic stage might have some skills or none depending on previous auditory access. If the child experienced some auditory access prior to being fit with technology, they might be vocalizing, turn taking, and have use of one or more receptive words. Another child might have had no auditory access at all prior to receiving their technology and thus have no auditory attention to sounds, not yet understand that sounds have meaning, and could be non-vocal. Another situation could involve children at the communication with errors stage. One child in this stage might have ongoing errors that are limited to /s/ morphemic functions such as plurals and possessives due to continued limited access to high-frequency sounds. Another might be using telegraphic phrases with only key words (e.g. daddy go bye-bye car) and have limited use of grammatical structures, while learning to attend to quieter sounds and unstressed words within complete sentences.

There are also chapters on assessment, working with families, and strategies to use in therapy sessions and as part of activities of daily living. Ideas for games, activities, and books are included for each stage.

The book puts an emphasis on the cultural background of the families in therapy. When learning about a family’s daily living and cultural heritage, it is important to plan activities that parents and family members can easily incorporate into conversations and items that exist in the child’s home. For example, if the team learns that a family possesses certain books, toys, games, foods, clothing, and/or household items, they can model how to create challenging activities using these real possessions. 

Each chapter is evidence-based and contains numerous references and websites, as well as tables for easy understanding of complex principles, such as developing higher-order thinking skills.

As more and more children with hearing loss are included in general educational settings with their typically-hearing peers, it becomes even more important that professionals working with them understand how to use an auditory-based approach to support their ongoing linguistic and academic development. This approach is credited with age-appropriate literacy development. 

Whether you are new, experienced in the LSL field, or training or mentoring other professionals, this book is a must-have for your professional library.