Tanya’s daughter, Onna, was born prematurely at 28 weeks, alongside her typically hearing twin sister, Sala. Her hearing loss was initially misdiagnosed but (to cut a long story short!) she was finally diagnosed with severe-profound hearing loss and Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder (ANSD). She received bilateral cochlear implants a month before her third birthday and started on the Auditory Verbal UK programme two months later.

When Onna’s condition was first confirmed, her father and I immediately made the decision to do whatever was necessary to give her the best chance to learn to listen and speak. This involved uprooting our family, moving countries and changing our careers – but we made the decision without hesitation.

Onna attends mainstream school alongside her twin sister. She has a one-to-one teaching assistant and although she is still speech delayed compared with her peers, she is chatty, engaged with her learning, reading well, making friends, and loving sports of all kinds from football and cycling to swimming and gymnastics.

Read more about Onna here.

Tanya said: “I passionately believe that deaf children deserve the same opportunities in life as their hearing peers. I feel that the inevitable and necessary hard work early on will pay off for these amazing children in the long term. It is not for us to set limits on what they can achieve but rather to give them the platform they need to learn, grow, and attain their goals alongside their hearing peers. 

I believe that AVUK’s aspirational and personalised approach can literally be life changing for deaf children and their families and would like to see Auditory Verbal Therapy become widely available across the UK, as it is in many other countries around the world.”

The Saunders family are based near Ely, Cambridgeshire. If you would like to request to speak to Tanya about her experience please email [email protected]