Parent ambassador: Jim & Becky Shearer Louie was diagnosed with a high-frequency moderate sensorineural hearing loss at his newborn hearing screening; he was born prematurely at 34 weeks. He attended AVUK from six months of age and went from strength to strength each session he attended. AVUK equipped us, as Louie's parents, to stimulate the development of his voice and the sounds he was making, to encourage meaningful vocal connections with Louie and to continually communicate with him using the amazing techniques that we were shown during the sessions. This babbling six month old baby is now six. He is the most fluent reader in his class (actually two years ahead of where his fully hearing peers are!) and speaks so confidently and articulately, with an incredible vocabulary. He is thriving at mainstream school. AVUK showed me that having a hearing impaired child did not mean he should be held back in any way. They provided me, as Louie's mother, with strength and positivity and I can honestly say that I do not know what we would have done without AVUK. It would be easy to look back at Louie's first years with a sense of sadness about the discovery of his hearing loss; but in fact, I look back really fondly at the time we spent with AVUK. The sessions were fun and imperative to Louie's vocal development and ability to truly 'listen' with the use of his hearing aids. I used to drive home from every AV session full of optimism for Louie's future and thanks to this foundation, I continue to do so. Written by Becky Shearer. The Shearer's are based East Staffordshire. If you would like to speak with Jim and Becky about their experience, please email Beth.Cardwell@avuk.org.