Auditory verbal therapy Early intervention Early intervention What are the benefits of an early intervention programme? The UK has one of the world’s best newborn hearing screening programmes and advances are constantly being made in hearing technology. But amplification through modern hearing technology alone does not allow for optimal spoken language development for children with hearing loss. Optimal development of listening and spoken language skills is preceded by developing optimal auditory skills. Listening is dependent upon the stimulation and development of the auditory cortex in the brain. By the age of three and a half, the human brain has completed 85% of its physical growth, a significant part of the foundation for all thinking and learning. Neuroplasticity - where the brain remains receptive to new stimuli – is most active during this sensitive period, creating a limited window during which a child can learn to make sense of sound. This means that effective early intervention needs to occur as early as possible and ideally within the first 3 and a half years. Early identification, access to high-quality fitted hearing amplification technology and beginning a listening and spoken language programme as soon as possible is essential for developing good listening and spoken language skills. On 11th January 2016, the Prime Minister gave a speech on the importance of early intervention in the first three years of a child’s life to improve life chances. Auditory VerbalUK has contributed evidence to support the strategy, which the government is expected to publish 2016/17. A cost benefit analysis of Auditory Verbal UK's early intervention programme, published in June 2016, can be found here.