Karen, a teacher of the deaf for 27 years, has joined the AVUK team Tell us about your professional background to date: I qualified as a teacher of the deaf from Manchester University in 1988. I moved to Brighton to work at Ovingdean Hall School for the Deaf from 1988-1996, teaching English & Science GCSE to deaf students. I wanted to get some mainstream teaching experience so I worked at a specialist unit for hearing impaired and physically disabled pupils at Angmering Secondary School for two years. I joined the Sensory Needs Service in September 1998, where I worked with hearing impaired children across the age range, and managed the Service for the Hearing-Impaired for 13 years. I loved working with pre-school children and their families, and undertook additional specialist training in working with 0-2s, and attended a number of courses run by AVUK. I was fortunate to enrol on their training programme in September 2013, and joined the AVUK team in September 2015. Can you remember the first time you experienced auditory verbal therapy? Yes – it was at a conference in Manchester around 2001. Jacqueline Stokes and Pam Talbot were speaking, and I remember being so excited by the approach – in particular high expectations for deaf children, and the focus on working with parents to achieve their goals for their child. When did you first realise that you wanted to work with deaf children? A very long time ago! Manchester University has an excellent department for Audiology & Education of the Deaf, and I liked the idea of training to provide specialist help to deaf children in a variety of educational settings. What are you looking forward to in your new job role? Focusing on AVT and contributing to the goals of the organisation. How have your first few weeks been? Great – the team are lovely and welcoming and very helpful (and very young!). I have clear, challenging goals to work towards. I have started working with families and am looking forward to developing my skills as a therapist with the support and guidance from the team. If you were an animal what animal would you be and why? I think a Dolphin – communicative, friendly, loyal and hopefully intelligent!