So often in therapy, I feel that we (professionals) coach parents to use specific techniques (which is great!) and expect them to just do it because we said so (not so great!). This is not to say that therapists are being authoritative, or pushy, or bad in any way, but I do think that we generally tend to assume that if we say it, parents will do it — and the majority do. But why? Other than the rare parent who feels comfortable enough to challenge or question the professionals, I think parents take what we say at face value because there is an enormous power differential between parent and professional.
Therapists (hopefully!) spend a lot of time carefully planning goals and activities for each Auditory Verbal Therapy session, but professional planning is not enough. Parent coaching is the heart of AVT. It is not enough for you, the professional, to know what’s going on. Parents deserve this information, too! Below, I’ll detail a strategy I came up with called “PAW” that can help you structure your sessions for maximum engagement.
If you provide services to families in the home or via teletherapy, you have the advantage of helping them apply AV techniques to their natural environments in real time. But that’s not always possible. How can center-based clinicians or teachers make what they do with families “translate” once the families leave their clinic or school? How can we make center-based services realistic for parents?
When I coach other professionals, I tell them to work smarter, not harder! I like to pick just one book and make it work for ALL of the children I see in a week. My schedule is filled with listeners of all different ages, developmental levels, and needs, but with some creative thinking, you can take a classic story like Goldilocks and the Three Bears and find a gold mine of goals inside. Here are THIRTY ways to make the Three Bears work for (nearly) everyone on your caseload.
Nutritionists advise diners to think about building a “balanced plate” of proteins, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables for every meal. Eating too much of one thing isn’t good for your health! An Auditory Verbal session can be imagined in the same way. Too much focus on one type of goal or activity doesn’t help children achieve the well-rounded communicative competence that we want them to have. So, how do you build a balanced plate in an AV session?
Acoustic highlighting is a key strategy in Auditory Verbal Therapy. By changing the way that we present verbal information (for example, adding emphasis, repetition, or intonation), we can help children tune in to specific aspects of the signal, such as a new word or missed speech sound. There are many different ways to acoustically highlight, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking they’re all equally good in every situation. Just as you carefully choose colors to fill in a coloring page, be careful to choose the right highlighter for the job. Learning that acoustic highlighting exists is just step one. Here are some thoughts on how to take your highlighting skills to the next level!
In Auditory Verbal Therapy, we want children to learn to listen all the time, but we don’t want them to focus just on listening. We focus on audition, but we don’t focus only on audition. Listening is an important factor, but it’s not the only factor. So which is it — is AVT all about listening, or not?
See below for a recording of my May 2016 presentation for Cochlear and the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children/Renwick Centre “Complex and Challenging Cases” [CC]