Ernie was diagnosed at 11 weeks and aided at 12 weeks with profound loss in his left ear and severe to profound in his left ear. As you can imagine, that was devastating at the time and we thought that Ernie would never be able to talk. We didn’t know anyone who was deaf or had deaf children and at the time we didn’t know what support was out there.

It took a few weeks to start getting our heads around everything. As soon as Ernie was diagnosed we had a teacher of the deaf come to the house to show us how to communicate with Ernie visually. I felt as if she was connecting with my new son more than I was.

We heard about AV and we were very interested to go and visit Auditory Verbal UK, by this point Ernie was seven months old.

On our first visit we met the lovely founder of AVUK Jacqueline Stokes. I remember very well her asking us what we wanted for Ernie and what our aspirations were for him. I remember wanting to say “to speak and be understood” but we believed this was out of our reach.

During our first session, Jacqueline took Ernie and us into a room and did some therapy with a toy, saying the words “around and around”. Ernie didn’t take his eyes off the toy and Jacqueline encouraged him to say the words. To our surprise, he did. They were his first clear words, “around and around”.

Finding the money and the childcare for my other boy and travelling to AVUK’s offices in Bicester, Oxfordshire, was a worry for us until they told us about the bursary scheme which was an amazing help.

From the therapy to preparing for Ernie’s Cochlear Implant assessment, the help we had from AVUK staff was amazing. It’s the support they give you to be able to support your deaf child, you think you’re going for the therapy but you come away with so much more. The CDs we were given of our sessions were amazing as it kept my husband up to date as the therapy became a way of life for us.

Ernie became an amazing listener. People used to comment on how well he listened.

Now, people often don’t realise Ernie is deaf until they notice his implant because he speaks and listens so well. There is no way that it would be so good without the amazing support we had from the first visit. Ernie is now 12 and thriving at school.

A huge thank you all the staff at AVUK.

- Ernie's mum, Chrissi