Deaf children in South Africa will have more opportunities to learn to listen and speak through Auditory Verbal therapy after the qualification of a new therapist.

Almeri Scott is the latest in the country to become an LSLS CERT AVT (Listening and Spoken Language Specialist, Certified Auditory Verbal Therapist) fulfilling a long-held ambition for her.

This brings the number of LSLS Cert AVT's in South Africa to four.

As she celebrated the good news Almeri said: “I had always dreamed of pursuing LSL certification, but before the support in funding from Southern ENT this was completely out of reach. It was a bonus that Louise Ashton, Training Lead and Senior Auditory Verbal Therapist at AVUK, who was going to be my mentor also happened to relocate back to South Africa during that period. My dream has now become a reality.”

Almeri is dually qualified as a speech and language therapist and a mapping audiologist. She works at the Johannesburg Cochlear Implant Centre.

She started her Auditory Verbal therapy journey by attending a year course and mentoring on AV by the University of Stellenbosch in 2012-2013. Funding for further training and mentoring with AVUK was made available to Southern ENT (Cochlear Ltd) in South Africa during 2016 and Almeri was one of the first to apply for this opportunity to join an Advanced course cohort for South African professionals.

Almeri Scott (left) with Louise Ashton, Training Lead and Senior Auditory Verbal Therapist at AVUK (right)

She enrolled on the Advanced course with AVUK in March 2017 and wrote her final certification exam with AG Bell Academy at the end of June 2022.

Louise said: “Almeri has been on the AVT journey for a number of years, even before she enrolled on her training with AVUK. She has been passionately pursuing her dream and it had been a privilege to be part of her journey. She worked hard to change her practice to reflect the AV principles. She has a lot of experience with a range of different families from different backgrounds and cultures and effortlessly weaves in audition and parent coaching in her interaction with them. During lockdown in 2020 Almeri initiated a small research study in the South African AV community to look at how effective telepractice was and presented on this at the annual South African Cochlear Implant Group Conference. I am thrilled that the field is growing in South Africa and that Johannesburg has another LSLS Cert AVT that can support families who chooses listening as an approach. “

Almeri added: “The training has been such hard work but so rewarding. Now I am looking forward to continue to be part of the rewarding journey of a family who is seeking the best opportunities for their deaf child.”

Find out more about training with AVUK to support more deaf children to achieve their dreams here.