Usain Bolt lines up to be LOUD to help deaf kids get ahead Usain Bolt is lining up with stars like Daniel Radcliffe, Paloma Faith and Dame Evelyn Glennie to encourage everyone to wear LOUD clothes on Friday 17 June to help deaf children begin on the same starting blocks as other children at school. Schools, businesses and individuals across the UK have one month left to join the stars and turn up the volume on LOUD Shirt Day in aid of Auditory VerbalUK, an award-winning charity that helps deaf children listen and talk just as well as their hearing peers. Auditory VerbalUK‘s early intervention programme has been transforming outcomes for severely and profoundly deaf children in the UK since 2003. Eight out of 10 children who graduate from the charity’s programme achieve spoken language equivalent to their hearing peers and most attend mainstream schools. Many deaf children are underachieving at school, are at higher risk of isolation, bullying and social exclusion, and have lower employment prospects. But this shouldn’t be the case. With the right support in the early years, deaf children can have the same opportunities in life as hearing children. Beatrice (aged 12) is one of many children who have benefited from Auditory VerbalUK’s early intervention programme. Born profoundly deaf, Beatrice’s parents were told she would not be able to hear speech but that she might just be able to hear a jet engine. At 16 months, Beatrice could not associate sound with meaning. But, thanks to Auditory VerbalUK, Beatrice was able to speak her first words and progressed rapidly. By age 5, Beatrice graduated from Auditory VerbalUK’s programme and started school with age-appropriate language, on a par with her hearing peers and with unbelievably clear diction. Now aged 12, she is at a mainstream secondary school where she is able to study hard, play hockey and listen to music. Beatrice’s mum, Kate Cadman says: “Witnessing my profoundly deaf daughter react for the first time to my voice was a miracle. She has aspirations just like her hearing peers; one minute she wants to be a barrister, the next an interior designer. We always believed that deafness should not overshadow Beatrice’s character or preclude her from any opportunity in life. Thanks to Auditory VerbalUK, it truly hasn’t.” Auditory VerbalUK’s chief executive, Anita Grover says: “Far too many deaf children are missing out on vital support in the early years. The first three and a half years are critical for the development of listening and talking skills and the foundations for literacy and numeracy. With effective early intervention, deaf children can achieve on a par with their hearing peers. There really shouldn’t be any barriers to deaf children realising their full potential. We are delighted that people across the UK will be joining celebrities on LOUD Shirt Day on 17th June to create a sound future for deaf children across the UK. You can find out how to take part at www.avuk.org/loud-shirt-day-uk” Follow us on Twitter: @LoudShirtDayUK #LOUDshirtday See which celebrities are taking part here. Sign up to join Usain on 17th June here. ENDS Notes to editors available here.