The Luke Lee Listening, Language Learning Lab

The Luke Lee Listening, Language and Learning Lab at Marshall University, also known as “The L”, was founded in 2006 as the first preschool program in West Virginia providing listening and spoken language outcomes to children with hearing loss. We provide services to children from infants to toddlers to preschoolers to school-age to achieve a listening and spoken language outcome and allow them to mainstream into their home schools with age-level listening and spoken language skills to communicate with their hearing aged peers.

The goal of “The L” is to teach deaf children to listen and speak through the use of hearing technology, including hearing aids and cochlear implants. The program is for hearing impaired children from infants through school age whose families choose for their children to communicate through listening and spoken language. Children who are hearing impaired and use hearing aids or cochlear implants are eligible for services. The program teaches parents and/or caregivers the knowledge and skills to develop their child’s listening and spoken language through the use of their hearing with proper hearing technology. The program’s focus is to begin audiologic treatment and therapy early or at time of diagnosis to promote normal speech and language development.

Parent Infant Program (PIP)

The PIP was developed as a natural extension of the L preschool program. Research shows the earlier hearing technology is utilized and therapy begins, the better the outcomes. The time immediately following diagnosis is an important time to work with families and assist them when making decisions regarding communication options available for their child. The PIP provides services to children and their families. If a family chooses for their child to acquire a listening and spoken language outcome, immediate audiologic management followed by auditory-verbal therapy is essential. The parent/caregiver and child have weekly sessions with a Certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS Cert AVEd.).  The PIP immediately begins working with families to coach parents to provide the most optimal listening environment and listening strategies to promote their child’s listening and spoken language development through weekly auditory-verbal therapy sessions.

Preschool Program

The preschool focuses on intensive auditory-verbal education.  The preschool teacher is a Certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS Cert. AVEd.). The children are engaged in focused activities designed to accelerate their spoken language – including listening and language skills, speech, vocabulary, and literacy skills.  Listening and language development are the focus of all activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, center time, language activities, literacy activities, play centers, snack time, gross motor activities, math readiness, and music.  The preschool program is composed of four days a week with three days of classroom activities Monday through Wednesday from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm and an individual one-hour, auditory-verbal therapy session focusing on parent coaching and carryover of classroom goals to home to reinforce parents/caregivers being the primary facilitators of their child’s listening and spoken language development.

Individualized Auditory-Verbal Therapy

Once a child has been diagnosed with hearing loss, no matter how young they are, it is a developmental emergency to provide them with access to sound if parents wish for them to achieve a listening and spoken language outcome.  So, it’s never too early to start.  Studies show the earlier intervention begins, the better the listening and spoken language outcome!  Auditory-verbal therapy requires infants and young children be fit with appropriate hearing technology (hearing aids, cochlear implants, FM systems) to provide them with the best possible access to sound.  When a child is identified later with hearing loss, auditory-verbal therapy may be needed beyond the preschool years; or, when our preschool program isn’t an option for a child, we are able to support them in our auditory-verbal therapy program.  The parent/caregiver and child will have weekly sessions with a Certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS Cert. AVEd.). AVT/AVEd.  The therapist incorporates the child’s school activities during therapy and continues to work with parents/caregivers on the strategies to continue to develop their child’s language, as well as their educational goals.

The goal of our program is for the children to be mainstreamed to their local home schools with their hearing peers when the child has the ability to do so independently.

Thanks to support from the state of West Virginia and Marshall University Department of Communication Disorders there are currently no fees associated with “The L” for West Virginia residents.

We believe that one must see and hear life at “The L” in order to believe what we have to offer: Our students’ success can literally speak for itself!

For more information, please contact the program director, Dr. Jodi Cottrell, Au.D., CCC-A, LSLS Cert. AVEd., at 304-696-3455.