Celebrating our 18th Birthday with graduate Alex Bouton It’s celebration time – as Auditory Verbal UK this year celebrates coming of age we are delighted to be sharing our special year with graduate Alex Bouton who is also marking his landmark 18th Birthday. Alex, from near Bristol, was born with a profound hearing loss and first fitted with hearing aids at three months before his first cochlear implant at 18 months and second aged eight. Attending a special needs nursery, Alex was supported into a mainstream nursery and primary school. His family heard about Auditory Verbal UK through word of mouth and they began attending sessions with AVUK in 2006 and continued for three years. Alex’s mum Angela said: “Our AVUK sessions made all the difference. When we started Alex was very delayed with his spoken language. He had been a good signer but had really just stopped communicating as we encouraged him to listen and use his voice. At the end of the first session he realised the power of his words when he was saying ‘sit down’ and we would do it! I think the spoken language would have come eventually given how good his first school was, but it would have made school much harder for him.” Alex has just completed his first year at Mary Hare 6th Form and is studying Photography and Catering. He’s just passed his Maths and English GCSE’s and AS level Photography. He is learning to drive and has a Saturday job in a local hotel. He loves listening to music, especially Little Mix and enjoys singing to relax. The Bouton family celebrated Alex’s 18th birthday at the beginning of August with a trip to Thorpe park. In the future Alex hopes to get a job he enjoys, pass his driving test and be happy!