For a child with hearing loss, speech therapy is often an integral part of language, speech and listening skill development. Speech therapy can have different approaches based on the family’s choice of communication for the child. A child can benefit from speech therapy if they have received a diagnosis of mild, moderate to profound hearing loss and any level between these levels. The family can consult their audiologist and speech therapist when making this decision. We have experience working with hearing aids and cochlear implants.

Teaching listening and spoken language skills is one mode of communication that can be taught through speech therapy. This is a common approach for children with hearing loss who use hearing aids or cochlear implant(s) to access environmental and speech sounds. In our clinic, listening and spoken language skills are facilitated in family centered therapy using Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT) principles and techniques. At Sensible Speech, our trained speech therapist has years of experience providing AVT techniques to families and children with hearing loss.

The speech therapist can assist a family in choosing the appropriate route of communication taking account many different factors. It is important for the family to remember the professional team is available for support through the entire development of the child. Also, the family can decide to change the approach to speech therapy if the family or team feels the initial decision is not effective for the child and family.

What is speech therapy like?

Speech therapy sessions are individualized to each child and family and can vary significantly based on many factors. Parents or caregivers are highly encouraged to attend and participate in each therapy session. One of the basic principles of AVT is that the family is the primary teacher of the child. The Auditory Verbal Therapist will guide and coach the parent or caregiver in facilitating skills in therapy and in the home environment.

Families often wonder how long the child might need speech therapy. It is impossible to know exactly how long speech therapy or AVT will be needed. It often depends on the degree of hearing loss, the programming/mapping of the hearing aids / cochlear implant(s), if there are any other existing medical conditions the child is managing, and/or the family’s carryover of skills practiced.