As part of Trustee Week 2022, Katherine Bartrop, a trustee at Auditory Verbal UK, shares her experience on the programme with son Robin:

“We learnt that our second son, Robin, was profoundly deaf after he failed his newborn hearing test. He was fitted with hearing aids at five weeks old, in the depths of lockdown in 2020. It was a lot to take in and felt like our worries about the future and big medical decisions overshadowed what should have been such a really happy time.

We discovered AVUK by chance after a segment about the charity on BBC news. We were amazed by the listening and speaking abilities of the fantastic children in the piece. After lots of research, we signed Robin up at 8 months old, before he had his cochlear implants at 12 months.

Working with our AVUK therapist every fortnight has given us so much confidence, and the amazing feeling that we are doing everything we can to support Robin in his speaking and listening. It’s been simple to build the techniques into our everyday routines and to pass them on to other family members and nursery teachers.

Robin is now almost two and is doing really well. His recent assessments have put him at the same level as a hearing child his age, and it’s so fantastic to see him saying new words, understanding our conversations, playing with his big brother and listening to the world around him. Every time he looks up to hear a train announcement, or a dog barking in the distance, it makes me smile!

I was pleased to become a trustee for AVUK in summer 2022 and use my fundraising and leadership background to help a charity which is really close to my heart. I feel so lucky that we found AVUK and would love for every family to be able to easily access the same support if they choose to.

Here’s a picture of Robin and I just a couple of days after his cochlear implant operation - back to his normal self. Already smiling and playing!”