My name is James Curtis.  I attended Auditory Verbal UK with my parents as a young child and I am the charity’s first ever young ambassador.

I was born profoundly deaf, but it was not until I was 8 months old that my parents discovered my hearing impairment.  There was no newborn hearing screening programme then.  My parents were shocked and worried that my hearing impairment meant I would have to live in a silent world as neither of my parents had any experience of deafness before. They were worried for my future, concerned about how I would communicate and didn’t know if I would be able to have the opportunities they hoped for me.

Luckily, thanks to the amazing work of the team at Auditory Verbal UK and my mum’s tenacity and determination for me to speak and live the life of any other child, they realised that they should not let my deafness change their expectations for me.  Today I speak as well as any of my friends. If anything, I speak too much!

Thanks to my hearing technology, focused auditory verbal therapy (which, might I add, was a lot of fun!), and the superb efforts of my parents who never stopped believing that I could achieve as much as any other child, I am incredibly happy, fulfilled and can communicate with whomever I choose, even (very basically) in two other languages and on the phone. Most of the time people don’t realise that I am deaf until I tell them.

I never let my deafness hold me back and I am currently at school studying for my A-levels: History, Maths, Physics and Economics. I haven’t yet found anything that I can’t do, whether it’s cycling, skiing, football or swimming. I have been a leader on many camps for younger children and travelled abroad independently with my friends.  I know I can do anything and I am so excited for my future.

Auditory Verbal UK can give you and your child the tools and support to enable them to fulfil their language potential.  If you want to learn more about the experiences of other families, you can ask to speak to a young ambassador, like myself, or one of the charity’s parent ambassadors.

I hope you enjoy the programme at Auditory Verbal UK and I look forward to hearing news of even more deaf children enjoying a sound future!

James Curtis, aged 16