Auditory VerbalUK Graduates attend House of Commons event

On Wednesday 8th June a group of inspirational deaf children and young people from across the UK joined MPs, hearing experts and other VIPs at the House of Commons for the Power of Speech – a unique event organised by Auditory VerbalUK.

The event challenged perceptions of what deaf children can achieve with the right support at an early age.

Attendees had the privilege of hearing from Auditory VerbalUK graduates who learnt to listen and talk as very young children at Auditory VerbalUK.   Each gave a short talk on a subject close to their heart and the diverse topics ranged from super heroes to tennis and You Tube.

The audience at the event included Dr Dimity Dornan, AO, founder and executive director of Hear and Say in Australia, and Neil Carmichael, MP, vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness, and chair of the Education Select Committee and other experts in health, education and hearing.

The Power of Speech event also launched robust, independent evidence in a new report that shows auditory verbal therapy helps deaf children listen and speak is cost effective and impactful.

The report ‘Investing in a sound future for deaf children: A cost benefit analysis of auditory verbal therapy at Auditory VerbalUK’ (June 2016) shows that for every £1 invested in the charity’s early intervention, there is a £4 return on the child’s future. Eight out of 10 children who graduate from the programme have communication skills on par with their hearing peers, and most attend mainstream schools. The literature review within the analysis also shows early intervention is critical for life-long language development, quality of life, employment and productivity.

Auditory VerbalUK’s Chief Executive Anita Grover says: “We want to see a world where all deaf babies and children have access to effective early intervention programmes so as to make the most of life’s opportunities and for parents to have the opportunity to access an auditory verbal programme close to where they live. The awe-inspiring children who spoke to parliamentarians and hearing professionals at the Power of Speech event at the House of Commons show the tangible value of the auditory verbal therapy approach. The report underlines the economic case for our early intervention programme. I hope that commissioners and service providers will consider the significant benefits of this programme and consider investing in the training of speech and language therapists, teachers of the deaf and audiologists across the UK in auditory verbal practice.”

The executive summary and full report are available here.

See photos from the event here

Quotes from the day

Beatrice Cadman, age 12:

Giving a presentation at AV UK's Power of Speech Day held in the Houses of Parliament was a life changing experience for me. I felt very special having the opportunity to give a speech and extremely proud of all that I have achieved.

Kate Cadman, mother of Beatrice:

It was wonderful to watch Beatrice take to the podium so confidently and deliver a heartfelt, informative and moving speech so eloquently and professionally. I was bowled over by the natural way she addressed the large audience which included MPs and professionals. AV UK’s input with Beatrice in her early years was, and still is, invaluable and has enabled my daughter to take centre place on a world stage - all things that 10 years ago would have seemed utterly impossible to me.

Emma Denton, mother of 9 year old Charlie:

It was a fantastic event and Charlie felt incredibly proud and honoured to have been given such an amazing opportunity. It was exciting to walk around the Houses of Parliament and the whole event felt like a celebration. It was very emotional to see how AVUK has transformed lives and it was wonderful seeing how confident and passionate all the children were. They really are challenging perceptions of what deaf children can achieve.

Rebecca Eisenhuth, mother of 7 year old Sophia:

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to present at the House of Commons and we really appreciated the opportunity AVUK afforded Sophia.  It was wonderful to see so many children who had been looked after by AVUK doing so well. AVUK are a wonderful charity who guide and support both the children and their families through the difficult process of learning to listen and speak. I can honestly say Sophia wouldn't be doing as well as she is today without their help. I'm sure she will look back on this in years to come and realise quite how rare an opportunity this was and how lucky she was to have been able to be part of such a day.

Pam Olliver, mother of 15 year old Jessie:

The day was powerful and important for our family and, most importantly, for our daughter Jessie. To hear all those children and young people evidencing how transformative auditory-verbal therapy has been to their lives was so moving and validating of our own experience. Being in the House of Commons was so symbolic and made me feel that we are one step closer to making the opportunities my children had be available to all. It is so important that this happens.

Rebecca Dennis, mother of 5 year old Hope:

Thank you so much for giving our family a lovely day, but most importantly for raising awareness and challenging perceptions. We are so immeasurably proud of Hope and not a day goes by without me thinking of the help and support we received from AVUK.