According to the Norwegian Hearing Association (HLF) there are around 60 children a year born with a hearing loss requiring intervention in Norway. A country with a population of around 5.3 million. 

There is one hospital in the country offering cochlear implant surgery for children and until now, there has been no certified Auditory Verbal Therapist actively working with families. 

That was until November when Charlotte Caspari certified as an Auditory Verbal Therapist. Charlotte passed the four hour exam, making her the first in Norway to do so. 

To celebrate this fantastic achievement, we asked Charlotte to tell us more about her career so far, and her hopes for the future of childhood hearing loss in Norway. 

What is your career history prior to your Auditory Verbal therapy (AVT) training?

I finished retraining as an ‘audiopedagog’ in 2010 just after I had my third daughter (Educational Audiologist is the closest translation I can manage). Prior to this I worked as a spy... only joking! I was actually working at the British Embassy here in Oslo.

After the retraining I worked for a couple of years in the state resource centre for special education. This involved travelling around and visiting hearing impaired children in a school setting. Soon after I started to work in private practice and have done that ever since. However, for the last four years I have split my time between private practice and working within the cochlear implant team at Rikshospitalet in Oslo. This is the only hospital in Norway which implants children.

How did you discover AVT and what made you want to work towards certification?

I attended a lecture with my now colleague Borghild Landsvik whilst taking my Masters. I knew straight away that I wanted to become an Auditory Verbal Therapist. It was 4 years ago that Ulrika Löfkvist, a certified Auditory Verbal Educator (AVEd) from Sweden, who works at the University of Oslo, offered to mentor me. I was so happy to get the chance that I jumped at it!

How did you train to become an Auditory Verbal Therapist? 

Ulrika was my main mentor but I also completed the AVUK foundation course, which I highly recommend. After that I continued with supervision with both Susie and later Louise from AVUK. I also participated in courses and observations on the Hearing First website which helped towards my CEUs for observation*. 

I also attended the AG Bell symposiums in Washington and Madrid. One thing that has been amazing about my AVT journey so far is how many inspiring and positive minded people I have met! 

What have been your biggest challenges?

The certification process is truly a marathon with highs and lows in my personal progress. I really wanted this so much though that I just pushed on. Positivity from others boosted my energy along the way. The families I work with have been great. Following them in their journey, both the ups and the downs is something I truly appreciate. I constantly want to do my best for them.

How has AVT changed your practice?

It has changed hugely! I have always focused on listening skills but coaching parents to help them to develop their child’s listening and spoken language has been a major change. This is something which really empowers parents.

What are you hoping to achieve now that you are certified?

Well, where should I start! Norway must catch up with other countries now and start offering AVT to families. I’m working with Ulrika and the Norwegian Hearing Association, HLF, but things take time. There’s too much research based evidence on the effectiveness of AVT and its long term benefits to ignore it.

In the mean time I’m continuing my practice and working with families both locally and through telepractice (I use Zoom). I’m also working on a childrens’ book inspired by AVT with a good friend mine, Andrie Steen, who is a talented artist. My family are hoping that I’ll slow down a little bit now but I’m not sure I’ll manage that!

Photo of Charlotte. Pictured with Charlotte in the photo at the top of the page is Aaron and his dad and brother, who are part of a Scottish/Norwegian bilingual (Norwegian and English) family. Charlotte says that 'it is so lovely to hear Aaron speak with his Scottish accent'!

*Information on what is required to become an Auditory Verbal Therapist is available here.