My name is Dhyana, and I was born profoundly deaf. However, I was only diagnosed when I was 5 months old. My parents were scared for my future, and with no prior experience of deafness, they faced many options and difficult decisions. At this challenging time, they met the inspirational late Jacqueline Stokes, founder of AVUK, who gave them hope that using Auditory Verbal therapy, there was an expectation that young deaf children could learn to listen and speak using optimally working hearing technology, and that they could attend mainstream education and become independent participating citizens in mainstream society. On the strength of this vision, our journey with AVUK began, and I graduated when I was 5 years old, with listening and language skills equivalent to that of a 7-year-old. 7 years later when my brother Khush was born profoundly deaf, my parents did not hesitate in contacting AVUK immediately and starting a new journey with him.

AVUK has become an integral part of our lives and has impacted me in the most positive way. Because of AVUK I am more confident and independent today. I attended a mainstream grammar school, and after successfully completing my GCSEs, I went on to study the International Baccalaureate, taking English Literature, Biology and Chemistry as my Higher Level subjects. I will now be going to the University of East Anglia to study medicine. I am able to appreciate and enjoy music and dance, and I am a grade 5 violinist. I have also completed the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh awards, and I have travelled internationally on my own. Most importantly, I believe that AVUK has given me the chance to be an outgoing young adult who can embrace the same opportunities as my hearing peers, and who can believe in my dreams. For this, I will always be grateful to AVUK.

I have raised money for AVUK by having Loud Shirt Days at school, as well as successfully nominating AVUK as the main school charity for the whole academic year. I have spoken about deafness and AVUK at general school assemblies and at the Founders Day Service to an audience of over 1000 people. I have also been invited to introduce important speakers at AVUK conventions. In 2017, I took part in a film for the Centre of Social Justice who awarded Auditory Verbal UK the Model of Excellence Award. I have also participated in general promotional videos to create awareness of AVUK. Additionally, in 2021, I was an interviewer on the panel in an event for fundraisers, who attended to find out more about Auditory Verbal Therapy. I also attended an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting with members of Parliament and attendees from interested organisations (e.g. the British Deaf Association, RNID, NDCS), in a meeting to discuss the impact of early support on outcomes for deaf children, and what AVUK strives to achieve. In both these events, I talked about my personal experiences and contributed to the discussions on the role of AVUK.

I am proud to be a Young Ambassador, and I would like more deaf children to benefit from the amazing and truly life changing work that AVUK does.