Speech + Lipreading
Most deaf children learn to lip-read and speak with hearing assistance and speech teaching from a very early age. Outcomes depend on your child’s hearing ability and type, age when deafness was detected, and any other needs.
Children who get a cochlear implant very young need less speech work, due to the digital sound. Hearing aids benefit children who have more hearing. Remember, babies lip-read from six months, to learn their mouth-shapes for talking.
Parent webinars and lesson plans from the John Tracy Clinic, teach families the link between hearing and speech. The JTC has a spoken language preschool for all children regardless of hearing, like the Roseville preschool in Minnesota.
Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) work with children who have hearing issues and with parents (and others) around the child to promote listening and speaking skills. Early referral is encouraged when hearing-devices are fitted after a newborn hearing-test and the child has essential access to sound for learning the pitches of spoken language.
What Is Auditory-Verbal Therapy (AVT)?
Family-centred auditory-verbal therapy teaches deaf infants to listen with their digital hearing-devices for their best-yet access to sound for learning to talk. Parent coaching from auditory-verbal therapists is a critical part of this process.
AVT And Language-Learning
Families learn about AVT when researching communication options for deaf children – and finding that newborn hearing tests with AVT give children a solid start. Many families ask about the history of AVT and the difference between Auditory-Verbal Education and Auditory-Verbal Therapy (AVT).
One mum praises AVT sessions in a piece, “It Will Be Okay” – remembering AVT is not new, even though Florida legislated for the AVT option only in 2013. Telepractice is a real option for family based AVT sessions, with equal results from teletherapy via Skype and from in-person sessions.
Families regularly ask how early to teach lip-reading, and the exact challenges and benefits of lip-reading for children. Like with AVT, learners of lipreading skills can practice using technology – for new languages, if they wish!
Home-Based Language Development
Parents need professional assessment and guidance from a speech teacher to continue the child’s language development at home. These SLTs work mainly in private practices, community clinics and primary healthcare offices.
Prevention of Language Delay
Early detection and response leads into family training to support the child’s speech and language progress at home.
Initial Assessment For Older Children
The SLT will run an assessment of your child’s speech and language with family members and relevant professionals.
- Information from the child’s audiogram and this impact on their access to speech
- Date of onset, if acquired
- Hearing-devices in use
- Current mode of communication
After assessment, a focused therapy plan will be devised with the child’s parents/carers – to include:
1. Development of:
- Play skills
- Listening skills
- Turn taking
- Work on comprehension
2. Parent training to follow the therapy programmes – both direct and indirect.
3. Work with preschool and/or school personnel.
As relevant, the SLT may draft a programme for day-to-day work by family members and/or staff in preschools.
Over time, the therapist will also assess the child’s comprehension of spoken words:
- verbal expression
- voice quality
- sound production
- social skills
For parents, speech teaching means their home language can be used, through speech ‘homework’ with the children.
This can be fun. Once your child can read, you can make words:
- with magnetic alphabet letters on the fridge or washing machine
- from alphabet spaghetti
- with honey on Ready Brek or similar breakfast cereal
- on a black / white board in the kitchen
- any other way you like – use your imagination!
Ideally, your SLT will develop your child’s pronunciation and articulation in regular sessions, while you reinforce everything at home.
Where a child has a cochlear implant, the local therapist links with the specialist therapist at the National Cochlear Implant Centre to follow a relevant programme.
For information and appointments contact:
- The county-level speech and language therapy department (ask your HSE office for details).
- Your Visiting Teacher
- Your local audiologist
- A private service provider that you may be attending
Finding A Therapist
Ireland’s two speech and language therapist associations are
- Independent Speech-Language Therapists In Ireland
- The Irish Association of Speech & Language Therapy
- Beaumont Hospital’s cochlear implant team has three speech therapists who work with children.
Beyond Ireland, try teletherapy from these entities:
Parent Coaching From AuditoryVerbalTherapy.net