“Through the Government’s Newborn Screening Programme for hearing loss, our daughter Beatrice was diagnosed with a profound bilateral sensori-neural hearing loss when she was just weeks old. We were advised that she wouldn’t be able to hear speech or a dog barking but that she might just be able to hear a jet engine. It was devastating news. For months I awoke in the night, reliving the shock of being told. Would Beatrice ever hear my voice? Would she make friends and be happy? I felt completely isolated and the professionals’ expectations for her seemed so low.

However, one teary telephone call to Auditory VerbalUK dramatically changed the path we were on. I was advised to get the best technology available for Beatrice and to start auditory verbal therapy with Auditory VerbalUK immediately. At last there seemed to be a sense of urgency to get Beatrice hearing as best she could. During our first session with Auditory VerbalUK, we were horrified to find out that Beatrice, now 16 months old, had absolutely no understanding of sound – she didn’t even associate sound with meaning. Whilst we were reeling from this, Beatrice, through play, began to respond to her name. It took just an hour. Witnessing my profoundly deaf daughter react for the first time to my voice was a miracle.

Every other week we travelled a 180 mile round trip to attend play sessions teaching us, the parents, how to help Beatrice gain age-appropriate language. Her progress was meteoric. By the time she was five, Beatrice was able to graduate from Auditory VerbalUK and start school with age-appropriate language, on a par with her hearing peers and with unbelievably clear diction.

Beatrice is now 12. She has aspirations just like her hearing peers; one minute she wants to be a barrister, the next an interior designer. She has just moved to secondary school where she is now independent and confident enough to manage her own hearing needs (liaising with teachers for extra support if needed). Beatrice is extremely popular; she’s very funny and never misses an opportunity to joke or play a prank. She’s one of her year’s most advanced hockey players, loves listening to music and is studying hard too. The world is her oyster. 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.”

Beatrice's mother, Kate Cadman