Auditory Verbal therapist, Frances Clark, attended the Alexander Graham Bell (AGBell) symposium in Arlington, Virginia, which took place from 29th June - 1st July 2017. The AGBell Association are the certifying body for Auditory Verbal therapists worldwide. Frances has written a short post below on her key learnings from the conference. 

This year the AGBell symposium was held in Arlington, Virginia, with the theme being: Innovate, Integrate and Motivate - apt considering the heritage of the area and some of the leaders of America that have done just that.

I felt a great sense of privilege to be able to connect with, learn from and share with professionals from all over the world. There is a common aim: to promote listening and spoken language so that children who are deaf, throughout the world, can become innovators, integrators and motivators.

Roberta Golinkoff was this year’s headliner and like Ed Sheeran at Glastonbury, she took a kind of “acoustic approach”, talking very naturally about some important things.

We are constantly asking parents what their “take home messages” are so I thought it best to summarise my "take home messages" from Roberta Golinkoff's talk for ease of reading and hopefully a bit of motivation:

  • Babies learn about their native language vowels in the womb (Moon & Kuhl, 2012) that means that children who are deaf have missed out on this.
  • By 4.5 months research shows typically hearing babies turn to their own name – by 6 months, they are able to remember words if they follow their own name or the word “mummy”.
  • Children under the age of 36 months are unable to learn from video but can learn from Skype. This is because they get contingent responses.
  • Parents should consider conversational duets – contingent conversational responses that are close in time and on the child’s topic.
  • STRIVE FOR FIVE: five conversational turns with your child right from the very very start.
  • Parental use of technology such as phones and iPads shows depressive behaviours in young children.

Roberta Golinkoff has written two books that are of particular interest: How Babies Talk (1999) and Becoming Brilliant (2016).

I found each and every conversation and presentation had a gold nugget, too much to share in one blog post. However, there was one other piece of research that must be mentioned. Ann Geers: Impact of Early Sign Language Exposure on Cochlear Implant Benefit. These three slides say it all:

I also had the fantastic opportunity to share some of my key learnings about Sensory Integration, and talk about integrating this approach with Auditory Verbal therapy.

Thanks to AGBELL for integrating cultures from around the world, allowing us to share and innovate together. I feel inspired and motivated.

This blog post was written by Frances Clark, Auditory Verbal Therapist at Auditory Verbal UK. You can follow Frances on Twitter @Frances_AVT.