The World Needs More Listening and Spoken Language Specialists

 Speaking from the Volta Bureau Autumn banner

Emilio Alonso-Mendoza summerDear Alexander Graham Bell Community,

At the time I was returning from spending the holidays with my family, an interesting article appeared in a Florida newspaper that referenced AG Bell. The Orlando Sentinel recently profiled Linda Baumgartner, a local speech-language pathologist and a certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS®). Linda is starting a program at Florida Hospital called Little Hearoes that brings key services together under the same roof, including cochlear implant mapping, hearing aid fitting and auditory-verbal therapy.

The article highlighted the growing number of families seeking the services of LSLS professionals and the critical shortage of professionals to meet their needs. Linda is one of fewer than two dozen licensed auditory-verbal therapists in Florida. Therapy is a vital component of a child's success in acquiring listening and spoken language, and a shortage of LSLS professionals impacts on how successful we can be. I want to encourage professionals to consider LSLS certification as an essential career move.

Teacher, Parent and childThe AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language is working to address that shortage. The AG Bell Academy, which manages the certification for LSLS, is pleased to announce the newest LSLS, who recently earned their credential! I'm sure the Orlando Sentinel writer who penned the article I mentioned will be pleased to know that two more LSLS professionals have been certified in Florida. Please join us in congratulating our newest certified LSLS:  

Amber Al-Azzawi, LSLS Cert. AVT - CA Amy Arrington, LSLS Cert. AVT -OK
Kelli Blankenship, LSLS Cert. AVEd -IN Mary Brady, LSLS Cert. AVEd - CA
 Cathy Burkett, LSLS Cert. AVT- OK Kristi Carpenter, LSLS Cert. AVT- OK
Vincci Chan, LSLS Cert. AVT - WA Heather DeWyze, LSLS Cert. AVT - FL
Marge Edwards, LSLS Cert. AVT - UT Dianne Fitch, LSLS Cert. AVEd - NH
Elizabeth Gaffney, LSLS Cert. AVEd - TX Claudia Hanford, LSLS Cert. AVT - TX
Mia Hosking, LSLS Cert. AVT - Australia Susan Jones, LSLS Cert. AVT - ID
Joy Kearns, LSLS Cert. AVEd - CA Nancy Dixon Koch, LSLS Cert. AVEd -FL
Carrie Lopez, LSLS Cert. AVT- VA Hanna Mared, LSLS Cert. AVT - Sweden
Katherine McLeod, LSLS Cert. AVT -TN Ritu Nakra, LSLS Cert. AVT - India
Megan Samson, LSLS Cert. AVEd - MO Debra Kay Schrader, LSLS Cert. AVT - CA
Erin Sizemore, LSLS Cert. AVEd - FL Ally Smith, LSLS Cert. AVT - TN
Elaine Smolen, LSLS Cert. AVEd - NY Miriam Stafford, LSLS Cert. AVT -TX
Peyton Stephens, LSLS Cert. AVT -TX Sarah Thurling, LSLS Cert. AVT - Australia
Andrea Weeks, LSLS Cert. AVT -CA  

Since I joined AG Bell, I have had the pleasure of meeting many LSLS professionals who truly put their heart into their work. Every day, they are making a difference in the lives of children, demonstrating their high level of dedication and qualification. 

There are, of course, multiple requirements to achieve certification, and for LSLS this includes the critical requirement of spending time in a mentoring relationship with an existing LSLS. Mentors use their professional experience and expertise to guide the delivery of services by LSLS professionals during the application process. Mentors are vital to ensuring that the services being delivered are of high quality and are consistent with LSLS certification requirements. We truly appreciate all they do to help other professionals achieve excellence and we are grateful for their dedication to the field. We always need more mentors, and we encourage all certified LSLS to consider helping another professional achieve certification. 

Academy President Teri Ouellette
Academy President Teri Ouellette

AG Bell is committed to improving the mentoring component of the certification program by reinforcing positive attributes and addressing existing challenges. AG Bell Academy President Teri Ouellette and the AG Bell Academy Board have approved the establishment of a Mentoring Task Force to review the mentoring process from A to Z this spring. The primary purpose of the Mentoring Task Force is to ensure that designated benchmarks are reached as part of the mentoring process. The task force will provide recommendations to the AG Bell Academy Board to ensure that professionals are well prepared to pass the LSLS exam. We welcome feedback and questions related to both mentor and mentee experiences at [email protected].

Resources for Reading
The exact dates and times of the 2016 exams have not been released; however, an exam will be offered at the 2016 AG Bell Convention in Denver on Wednesday, June 29. If you are ready to make certification part of your 2016 career goals, I encourage you to review the tools and resources AG Bell provides to help you on your journey. Visit the Resources for Reading webpage on the AG Bell Academy section of for reference materials and a practice exam. The AG Bell Bookstore has many valuable products to help candidates as well. One of the most recommended products is the "Terms and Concepts for the Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS) Flash Cards." This deck of nearly 400 flash cards covers essential terminology and concepts from the nine LSLS domains of knowledge as well as bibliography cards.

I hope that candidates know that we strive to make the certification a testament to their commitment and their qualifications, and that we celebrate their success. Certification is a choice professionals can make at any time in their career. Families need more professionals, and we are working to align our goals with their needs. Stay tuned for more AG Bell Academy news as 2016 unfolds.

Until next week,


Emilio Alonso-Mendoza
[email protected]


Mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults that we would like. It's the only way we grow.
- George Lucas