Communication Considerations A to Z™

Auditory/Oral Education

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What is Auditory/Oral Education?

The Auditory/Oral (A/O) approach teaches infants and young children to use hearing and speech to develop spoken language for communication and learning. Children typically attend a pre-school or early elementary program taught by teachers and therapists with A/O and child development training and experience. Signs are not used in the A/O approach; however, natural gestures that are used in typical conversation are included.

What issues are at the forefront of Auditory/Oral Education?

The goal with A/O is for children to enter the mainstream after they have time to strengthen their language, social and cognitive development in an A/O program. Given the importance of working with A/O qualified educators and therapists, families are encouraged to inquire about professional training and experience.

What should every parent or professional know about Auditory/Oral Education?

Auditory/Oral education can be used with most children, regardless of whether that child’s hearing loss is in the mild through profound range. Families who choose A/O commit to helping children use their hearing and speech for language and communication. Professionals work closely with families to help them use hearing aids, cochlear implants, FM systems or whatever hearing technology is appropriate for the child.

Where else can I find information about Auditory/Oral Education?

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Oral Deaf Education

Children With Hearing Loss: Developing Listening and Talking Birth to Six
Elizabeth Cole, Ed.D, CCC-A, Cert. AVT
Carol Flexer, Ph.D., CCC-A, Cert. AVT
Plural Publishing (



Judy Harrison, M.A.

Judy is the Director of Professional Programs at the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She is an experienced teacher of the deaf who has specialized in early intervention, family services and cochlear implants. Judy represents AG Bell on the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing and the Council on Education of the Deaf. She is developing programs for professionals in the field of hearing health to enhance their abilities to serve children with hearing loss and their families to develop spoken language.

Gayla Hutsell, M.A., CCC-A/SLP, Cert AVT

Gayla is the State Coordinator of Indiana’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program. Prior to the recent return to her home state, Gayla was employed for nearly four years with the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Washington, D.C. preceded by thirteen years as a Clinical Supervisor in Child Hearing Services within the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Department at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Gayla has extensive experience as a pediatric audiologist and speech-language pathologist.



* Communication Considerations A to Z™ is a series from Hands & Voices that's designed to help families and the professionals working with them access information and further resources to assist them in raising and educating children who are deaf or hard of hearing.  We've recruited some of the best in the business to share their insights on the many diverse considerations that play into communication modes & methods, and so many other variables that are part of informed decision making.  We hope you find the time to read them all!

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