Avril Grimer

As many of you know our son, Orson, was born with with moderate-severe high frequency sensorineural hearing loss in both ears (his hearing loss was caused by a genetic mutation on the Connexin 26 gene).

Whilst we knew there were different forms of communication available for deaf children but we felt very strongly that we didn't have the right to take away any potential choices for Orson before he was able to make the choices himself. So, we took the decision to ensure Orson could learn how to listen and speak so that had the opportunities that other hearing child had.

Auditory Verbal UK is a charity that wants all deaf babies and children to have the opportunity to listen and speak like their hearing peers. The Auditory Verbal approach stimulates auditory brain development and enables deaf children with hearing aids and cochlear implants to make sense of the sound they hear in their devices. So children with hearing loss, are better able to develop listening and spoken language skills.

We took Orson to AVUK for Auditory verbal therapy from the age of 2 and by the time he graduated from the course at 4.5 years old, he was tracking a year ahead of his age on the Preschool Language Scales assessment. For a young boy who cannot hear the sound of a bike bell, birds singing and the doorbell ringing without his hearing aids it was an incredible achievement.

Whilst Auditory Verbal therapy is government-funded in Australasia and Denmark and is a mainstream approach in Canada and the United States for teaching children with permanent hearing loss to listen and speak, it is not in the UK. The average cost of Auditory Verbal Therapy is £6,825 a year. On average a child spends 2-3 years on the course.

Orson in now in Year 2, which is his last year at his current school. He is delighted that he had been made school house captain and recently won the Head teacher’s award for effort and perseverance. For those of you who know Orson personally, this award really is a true reflection of what he stands for.

Orson is very aware of his deaf identity and the impact his hearing loss has on him but he refuses to let it hold him back. He’s definitely a young boy that will never give up until he’s accomplished what he set out to achieve! He’s a constant whirlwind of energy and has the ability to ask you questions about the world that you struggle to answer! He’s an avid reader (his current favourite author is David Walliams), he could chat to you for hours about Harry Potter, how to play Terraria and he loves riding his bike and doing karate.

AVUK has been life-changing for our family and we are eternally gratefully. We know are very fortunate to have been able to fund the therapy but for many children in the UK they are missing out on the opportunity.

We would love you to join us and raise awareness for Auditory Verbal UK by joining in with Loud Shirt Day on 23rd October 2000. If you can wear your brightest colour clothing for us to make as much noise as possible.

We will be fundraising throughout the week 19th-25th October. Here is a selection of the fun things we will be doing all based around the number £6,825 (the cost for one year’s worth of AV therapy):

Orson will be cycling for 6825 seconds (1hr 53 mins) over 6 days, writing a story that includes the number 6 and 8, reading 8 chapters of a book and remembering as many 6 and 8 timetables in 68 seconds

Mei will be scootering for 6825 seconds (1hr 53 mins) over 6 days, recognising 8 letters/numbers each day, telling a 6-page story and completing 6 puzzles over 6 days

Martin will be completing 6 HIIT classes over 6 days, 68 press ups a day everyday and drawing 8 caricatures.

Avril will running for 6825 seconds (1hr 53 mins) over 6 days, walking 6825 steps every day and holding a plank for 68 seconds (1 minute and 8 seconds) everyday

Grandad will be running for 6825 seconds (1hr 53 mins) over 6 days

Avril Grimer