Live, Love, LSL: a Professional’s Point of View

By Hearing First Team February 11, 2016

Celebrate LSL | #LiveLoveLSL, LSL journey, professional advice, listening and spoken language, Celebrate LSL

Serving families, powering potential – that’s why we Live, Love, LSL! Discover why sharing your story is so important to the LSL mission. Then see what it’s like to live and love listening and spoken language from a professional’s point of view.

Not sure what this is? Start reading with Part 1: Share How You Live & Love Listening and Spoken Language to see what it means to Live, Love, LSL.

As professionals and families on the LSL journey, we can all agree that Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) isn’t just an approach – it’s a way of life. As professionals, we have chosen LSL as a career path and are grateful to spend our days partnering with families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. This partnership allows us the opportunity to guide and coach families on their LSL journey, and it let’s us provide the hope and support they need to reach their LSL goals. We are privileged to share this journey and continuously marvel at the commitment LSL families have for their children.

Serving families, powering potential – that’s why we Live, Love, LSL!

In this post, the word “we” doesn’t just cover our team at Hearing First. It covers all the people we’ve met on our LSL journey who feel as we feel. Our experience has shown us that most LSL professionals love what they do, no matter what their job role is. Teachers of the deaf, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, early interventionists, and even otologists who serve children with hearing loss, all have the same thing in common: they love what they do! Loving what you do really makes a difference. In fact, it powers our potential to make a difference in the lives of children who are deaf or hard of hearing and the families who love them.

With a child’s future at stake, this is not just a job. It’s a calling. A job usually ends after an eight hour shift. A calling never ends, and we have embraced this life. At the end of the day, it’s the sounds of new words, singing, and reading that keep us going. We celebrate the small steps that lead to the big dreams of LSL outcomes – that children who are deaf or hard of hearing can learn to listen, talk, sing, and read on par with their hearing friends.

That’s what #LiveLoveLSL means to us. To do great work, professionals bring equal amounts of knowledge, skill, and passion to every parent partnership.

As LSL professionals, we know there is a need for more professionals with the LSL knowledge and skill to guide and coach families. That’s why it’s important for us to spread the word, so that other professionals might be inspired to learn and grow their LSL skills, and so that families can also learn more about the professional who can share the LSL journey and support them on every step of the way.

Earlier this month, we asked others to tell us why they live and love listening and spoken language. Here is one LSL professional's inspiring story.

Meet Jodi Cottrell, an Audiologist and LSLS Cert. AVEd who has devoted her life to helping children with hearing loss reach positive outcomes.

Meet Jodi Cottrell, an Audiologist and LSLS Cert. AVEd.

Hearing First (HF): How did you get started working in LSL intervention?

Jodi Cottrell (J): I was a clinical audiologist working with children, fitting them with hearing aids and cochlear implants. A parent called me and asked if we knew of anyone in West Virginia that provided services for children with hearing loss and their families who wanted their children to listen and talk. As an audiologist, I struggled to refer kids to professionals at that time because there weren’t any programs providing the service. That parent was Cherese Lee, and she wanted to start a program.

It’s been almost 10 years to the day of her calling me. I will never forget that call. A year and a half later, I began working for the program Cherese started: the Luke Lee Listening, Language, and Learning Lab at Marshall University.

HF: Why did you choose the field of Listening and Spoken Language?

J: When I was approached about the position as program director and LSL interventionist at Luke Lee, I didn’t feel, as a clinical audiologist, that I was qualified to provide the LSL intervention. They knew I had a passion for this field but I needed knowledge and skills. I needed to learn to be the best that I could be to provide services for these children.

I wanted to have a quality program, and in order to have that, I felt like I needed to be LSL certified through the AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language. With no other LSL services in the state of West Virginia, I knew once I was certified I could mentor others to expand the LSL outcomes in my state.

HF: How has LSL made a positive change in the families you’ve served?

J: Families in the LSL program are being educated on what their children need to be successful with a LSL outcome. And, they’re learning to advocate for their children so that they can get more optimal access to sound. I think about some of our families who have children that needed a cochlear implant but some medical professionals did not believe they qualified. When those parents learned more about their child’s hearing loss and understood how the outcomes were impacted, they began advocating for their own children. They learned that access to all the sounds of speech impacts LSL outcomes.

HF: What advice would you share to new professionals just starting in the field?

J: When I think about my learning journey through the certification process, I tell everyone it was the best professional experience of my career at this point. I loved getting to learn on the job and being able to learn hands on through experience – which is how I learn the best. Anyone interested in working with children with hearing loss that want to learn to listen and speak should consider the certification process. To be a person who can provide quality LSL services, you need to learn specific knowledge and skills. The amount I learned was more than I thought possible. Professionals need to be educated on a LSL approach to be able to work with families.

I can look back at what I learned in my three years of mentorship. Every time I worked with my mentor I was so excited to learn and then apply what I was learning in my practice with the kids.

HF: What is your most memorable moment? Why?

J: I think some of the most memorable moments are the times I get to be present for the initial stimulation of a cochlear implant. Getting to see a child respond to sound for the first time are always emotionally the most memorable moments.

About 3 months ago, I had a kiddo that I see for therapy – and lucky for me – I also got to do her initial stimulation. Her parents, grandparents, aunt, and uncle were there. We had this huge room of family members for this child, and honestly, whatever this child’s outcome, I left that appointment with the assurance that she was going to be okay because of the support she had from her family. It’s moments like that you feel so fortunate to work with these families. It is awesome to get to be a small part of that experience.

I love the whole family involvement and feeling like you're a part of their family for a short period of time.

HF: Why do you love LSL?

J: There are so many reasons. The reason I love it so much is because I get to work with these families and these children to achieve LSL outcomes. We know 90-95% of children with hearing loss have families who hear. To be a part of making sure this child is a part of their whole family is why I love it. Knowing the child is going to grow up and communicate with their family members and develop socially and emotionally. I love being a part of the dynamic of seeing the child being able to communicate with their brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, and their whole family. That’s why I love it!


Jodi’s story has certainly inspired us! Her interview echoed many of the sentiments that LSL professionals share. All of those experiences – of lessons learned, of memorable moments, of the path she took – should be shared.

At the heart of what we do, sharing the LSL story is imperative to grow awareness, extend the LSL message, and educate families and professionals about the amazing LSL outcomes that are possible for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

We invite you to follow Jodi's lead and submit your own story. You can submit your story through our contact form here, or by using the #LiveLoveLSL hashtag on social media. Follow the #LiveLoveLSL hashtag throughout the month to see what’s posted. And don’t forget to show your support with the free wallpapers and social media images we provided in our first blog post.

We invite you to share how you power potential with LSL every day.

You are the key to #LiveLoveLSL.

Try It

Do you have a story to tell? Share it with us! By telling your story, you can impact other professionals, families, and those who have never even heard of LSL. Your story can power the potential of a family and their child who is deaf or hard of hearing.

Stay tuned for our next post, where we interview a LSL family about their journey and how they #LiveLoveLSL.

Celebrate LSL | #LiveLoveLSL, LSL journey, professional advice, listening and spoken language, Celebrate LSL

About the Author

Hearing First Team At Hearing First, we want all children to benefit from the availability of newborn hearing screening, the advances in technology, and the early learning services in their communities. We want all children to have the opportunity to take advantage of access to sound – a critical building block for future success.