Auditory Verbal UK provides more than just an early intervention programme to support deaf children to learn to listen and talk - it delivers a family-centred programme which supports the whole family and inspires parents to believe their children can achieve their potential and that they are the very best coaches and teachers for their children.

Amy Spicer, AVUK Family Support Manager, explains how and why the whole family is central to the AVUK approach.

They say, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and this perfectly explains the Auditory Verbal UK family-centred early intervention programme.  

Families often contact us soon after they have been told their child is deaf and feelings of shock and uncertainty are common. By offering a safe and non-judgemental place to share these feelings, families can start to acknowledge and understand the rollercoaster of emotions they are facing.

AVUK’s holistic approach to the support we offer the families on our programme, recognises that timely, early support can reduce the risk of problems occurring and escalating, and troubles becoming overwhelming and unmanageable alongside the other challenges and adventures of family life. We also understand that families come in all forms, shapes, and sizes.

Families build strong and trusting relationships with their Auditory Verbal therapist but with family support

working closely alongside the clinical team it helps to address any barriers and outside factors that might be contributing to periods of worry and uncertainty. We want families to know they are supported inside and outside of their therapy sessions to empower them as they navigate the paths and next steps of raising their child.

Thinking ‘Family First’ is essential, as is hearing from the families with an annual family survey alongside feedback gathered when the child leaves the programme. We have recently increased the group support we offer and now run regular Family Links nurturing programmes. These weekly sessions give families the opportunity to think about how they support their child’s and their own emotional health and how to recognise and manage our feelings within the limitations of everyday life.

Opportunities for families to connect with one another has also been a focus. Social connectivity is known to facilitate better emotional health. Regular parent evenings are now run to enable parents and careers to meet with others in a central location to chat together in the familiar surroundings of a family home. We have watched families form relationships with one another including on WhatsApp and Facebook groups to become a vital part of that family’s wider support network.

Families joining the programme are now offered peer to peer support from those with older children who have already been through our Auditory Verbal programme, and we run family events and outings, so children get to play and socialise with one another.

Key to my role is being on hand for one-to-one support for families. They can ask any question and even if we can’t answer it, we signpost to other services and work in partnership with other organisations and agencies.

Many families which join our programme remain part of the AVUK family even after graduation. The support doesn’t stop, and we continue to provide advice especially when children and young people are entering a new chapter like transitioning to a new school.

Families not only stay in touch, but they advocate for other deaf children to have the same opportunities in life that their child had. Families and graduates meet with one another, share stories, and become ambassadors for our charity offering hope and reassurance to those families who are just embarking on their unknown journey.

Being part of our family’s journey to a sound future is a privilege and as we watch them, and their children flourish and grow we couldn’t be more proud.

Find out more about Auditory Verbal UK and how we can support your deaf child and your family by visiting or give us a call and one of our team can explain how we can help (01869 325000).

This article appears in full in the CICS January Quarterly Newsletter.