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May 19, 2003

Auditory Verbal Therapy

From: News 14 Carolina, NC - May 19, 2003

By: Vernon Fraley & Web Staff

Interpreting the environment using language is something Kyle Weston couldn't do a few years ago. Born profoundly deaf, Kyle received a cochlear implant when he was 18 months old. Since Kyle has been able to hear, he has worked hard to have moments like these.

"His first sounds were just the consonant sounds," said his mom, Cindy Weston. "The p-p-p and the b-b-b. That was very exciting that was about three months after we started AVT."

AVT stands for Auditory Verbal Therapy. It's what helps children like Kyle enter into mainstream schools without the help of an interpreter. Kyle and his mom attend sessions once a week with Lori Plank, a speech and language pathologist at the University of Virginia Health System.

"The premise of Auditory Verbal Therapy is that children even with the most profound hearing losses can be taught to listen and to use their hearing to process sound to process speech to develop spoken language," said Plank.

Another premise of AVT is parental involvement. Plank says the training she provides also teaches parents how to make their homes good listening environments for their children.

"I look back on it and realize how far he's come," said Weston. "Now he's using complete sentences. So the process has been huge and without AVT, I don't think he would have understood the sounds he was hearing, he wouldn't be able to improve his speech."

That means a better ability to relate to others in a hearing world.

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