When our baby daughter, Aimee, failed her newborn hearing screening test, we thought nothing of it. It was only at the follow up appointment six weeks later when it was confirmed that she had a bilateral moderate hearing loss, that we felt the enormity of the news.

Since Aimee was such a visual and engaging baby, we refused to believe she could be deaf…

We sought two more medical opinions to confirm the diagnosis and finally my husband, James, and I began the process of acceptance.

Aimee received her first set of hearing aids when she was just five months old.  We also began speaking to parents of other deaf children to educate ourselves of what was required to help her learn to talk.

One very influential mother, persuaded us to visit charity Auditory Verbal UK in Oxford. The staff there help parents of deaf children who want a spoken outcome for their child relying solely on listening.

Still raw from the shock of the diagnosis, James and I returned home after our first visit to AVUK, thinking we would not return due to the long journey from our home in North London. We hoped if we buried our heads in the sand everything would be alright in the end.

How wrong we were! What we actually needed at the time was someone ensuring we were on top of all the issues so we could be doing the absolute best for Aimee. She needed as much access to sound as possible and a person nearby narrating everything to her.

We kept hearing about AVUK and how wonderful their work was, so we decided to give it  another try.

The team were so professional and incredibly warm. They struck up an amazing rapport with Aimee, so much so that she looked forward to her sessions. It was always astounding how they managed to keep the toddlers and small children engaged during the hour long sessions.

AVUK gave us the tools to teach Aimee to listen and acquire language. They also helped us parents deal with hurdles and gave us strategies to use at home.

Aimee thrived at AVUK and at each language assessment, she fared well above her age, a sign that she was doing the best she could be doing. As a parent, we needed to know we were doing everything possible for our child and by attending AVUK and following the programme, it gave us that comfort. 

Aimee graduated from AVUK in December 2011, when she was four-and-a-half years old and started mainstream school.

Aimee is a bubbly, confident teenager, an excellent communicator and amazing listener who is meeting all her academic targets. She is now studying hard for her GCSEs.

Most parents I meet are surprised when I tell them Aimee is deaf, as you would never know. She has not missed out on anything in her life thus far and is fully immersed in the hearing world.

I cannot imagine where she would have been had it not been for  AVUK’s guidance and support.

- Susan, Aimee's mother