New Study Provides Strong Evidence Regarding the Effectiveness of AVT

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A new study published by The Volta Review provides longitudinal data supporting the effectiveness of auditory-verbal therapy for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

In its most recent issue, The Volta Review published a longitudinal study on the effectiveness of auditory-verbal therapy over time. “Is Auditory-Verbal Therapy Effective for Children with Hearing Loss?” completes a 50-month longitudinal study following the language, literacy, and emotional development of children with hearing loss who choose listening and spoken language. The end results indicate that the children with hearing loss who succeed with auditory-verbal therapy are well-adjusted and have language skills on par with their peers who have typical hearing.

Dimity Dornan, Ba.Sp.Th., F.S.P.A.A., LSLS Cert. AVT, who led the research team, noted, “Study on the outcomes of the AVT group is important because few controlled longitudinal studies of speech and language outcomes are available for children with hearing loss. In addition, an extension of the study time allowed us to include measures of academic outcomes for the children.”

The study matched children who were deaf or hard of hearing and using listening and spoken language with a control group of children who had typical hearing. Dornan and her team proceeded to conduct bench mark assessments for receptive, expressive, and total language, receptive vocabulary, and speech, and re-assessed at the 9-, 21-, 38- and 50-month mark. Over the last 12 months of the study, the team also assessed for reading and mathematics skills as well as self-esteem.

Results indicate that at the 50-month mark there were no significant differences between the children who are deaf or hard of hearing and the children with typical hearing. Speech perception improved significantly with moderate to high levels at the 50-month mark. Although the group was identified at a mean age of 22.29 months, much later than the current recommended age of 6 months, their language and speech attainments have been the same as the matched control group. Reading, mathematics and self-esteem outcomes were also comparable for both groups over the last 12 months of the study period.

Dornan stated, “This study has provided a research model, utilizing a control group matched for language age, which could also be replicated across different languages, cultures, and countries and with different education approaches.” The researchers concluded that auditory-verbal therapy was effective for this group of children with hearing loss. The study was published in the Fall 2010 issue of The Volta Review.

For over 110 years, The Volta Review has been the preeminent scholarly research and scientific journal in the field of listening and spoken language. The journal is published three times a year and research topics include speech and language development and processing, literacy skill development, hearing technology, educational outcomes, early intervention, and auditory (re)habilitation, among others. To learn more about the journal, its mission and its submission criteria, please visit http://www.agbell.org/TheVoltaReview.

The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing helps families, health care providers and education professionals understand childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. Through advocacy, education and financial aid, AG Bell helps to ensure that every child and adult with hearing loss has the opportunity to listen, talk and thrive. With chapters located in the United States and a network of international affiliates, AG Bell supports its mission: Advocating Independence through Listening and Talking!

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Melody Felzien

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