Controversy over Official Definition of Auditory Verbal Therapy

There is a disagreement between distinguished AVTs regarding the new official description of Auditory Verbal Therapy as defined by the current governing body A.G. Bell.

The primary concern is over the language of the description which states that Auditory Verbal Therapy is to “Promote early diagnosis of hearing loss in newborns, infants, toddlers, and young children, followed by immediate audiologic management and Auditory-Verbal therapy.”

This language may be used to infer that older school-aged children are not beneficiaries of the Auditory Verbal Method, as it is geared rather to infants and young (read: not school-aged) children.

Prominent Auditory Verbal Therapists in the New York area, such as Anne Kearney and Jane Madell have voiced their concerns over this matter. They are afraid that school-aged children that do need Auditory Verbal Therapy will be denied access to auditory verbal therapy by their school districts. The School District can claim that the “official description” of AVT states that it is only intended for “young children”.

Shantall Hall, a spokeswoman for the A.G. Bell Academy, feels that this is of no concern. The language is only intended for those that receive therapy from a young age, but not to exclude older children that have recently began Auditory Verbal Therapy.

Nevertheless, there is concern that the School Districts can interpret the new wording negatively and deny vital AVT services to children that can benefit greatly from it.

If you agree with Jane and Anne, let your opinion be heard. Write your feelings to A.G. Bell and let them know how you feel on this matter.

Send message to A.G. Bell



  1. Melissa Chaikof said

    I am the parent of two children, now ages 20 and 12, who learned language through the A-V approach. Over the years, since the popularity of the approach has grown with the widespread use of cochlear implants, I have seen instances and attempts to water down the approach. Therefore, I actually have to say that I agree with the definition as it stands. By definition, A-V has always been about early intervention and working with children during the early formative language learning years with the parents as the children’s primary language role models. A child can begin Auditory Oral therapy later in school or elsewhere, and the therapist can then use techniques from A-V therapy, but it is then not the A-V approach.

    I understand the issue of the school systems, but I think a rewording to say that older kids need auditory training, which can be provided by a Cert. AVT, would be a way around it.

  2. Heidi said

    Your site is such a great resource. I will be giving your link to parents who I am working with that have their children in speech therapy. I’m a speech therapist and have a blog where I talk about ways of helping our kids with their speech. Hopefully it may give any added support to your readers who have children in speech therapy as well.


  3. […] child to learn spoken language and to be able to communicate verbally (Martin & Noble, 1994) Controversy over Official Definition of Auditory Verbal Therapy Hearing Pocket […]

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