Ariella celebrates a momentous summer It’s been a momentous summer for four-year-old Ariella Batchelor. She has graduated from the Auditory Verbal UK programme, got ready to start primary school and seen her heroes “The Paw Patrol” in her first visit to the cinema. The youngest of three girls Ariella’s hearing loss was picked up at her newborn hearing check and confirmed as a connexin 26 gene mutation at five weeks old. At eight weeks Ariella was fitted with beautiful pink hearing aids and the family were supported by their Teacher of the Deaf and other families they met at a mother and toddler group which had been recommended. Mum Sabrina learned sign language and Ariella picked up signing well but Sabrina was concerned about her lack of baby babble. Now aged four Ariella is starting primary school with her language at age-appropriate levels for listening and understanding and progressing rapidly for speech. This summer Ariella graduated from the Auditory Verbal UK after two and a half on the specialist parent centre programme. Eight out of 10 children with a hearing loss who spend at least two years on the programme graduate with hearing skills equivalent to their hearing peers. Sabrina explained: “Ariella is over the moon to be joining her sisters at their local mainstream primary school a decision which my husband and I deliberated over since her deafness was diagnosed. Her language is rapidly progressing as is her confidence and I now feel confident as he feels excited about her start at school. “When Ariella was diagnosed I did not feel the shock many other families describe but as she grew and seemed nowhere near speaking, my concerns increased. It was then that I decided to contact AVUK who had been recommended by another family when she was first diagnosed. “AVUK has equipped my husband and I with various strategies and tools to help Ariella’s listening and language skills emerge. As time went on we were able to see Ariella’s personality shine even more and her understanding and listening grew. “Her language has taken a little longer but at every hurdle AVUK have helped dissect the problem and formulate a plan to help the development. AV have kept me sane and they are always so positive, in my bleak moments they really have turned on a light.” Read more about Ariella here.