My name is Jessica Olliver and I’m 16 years old. I am an AVUK graduate and very pleased to be part of this wonderful organisation.

I was born profoundly deaf and started attending AVUK alongside my sister (who is also deaf) shortly after my first cochlear implant. Having started AVUK so early on, I feel that I was able to catch up with my hearing peers and I had the ability to speak as well as them. Now, I do not feel that there is any difference between my language and the language of my hearing friends. This is all due to the fantastic work of AVUK and the dedication of my parents who used to drive me up to London from Brighton, every two weeks to visit the AVUK centre and I would like to thank them all so much for enabling me to have the life that everyone else has and for helping me overcome all the problems I have had that have been related to my deafness.

I am now studying for my GCSE’s at Brighton College, and I am doing Art, DT, and Geography, History, both English literature and English language, the three sciences, maths and further maths as well as additional maths. I am especially enjoying History as I find it fascinating. I don’t feel that my deafness removes my chance to be as successful as my hearing peers in the wide range of subjects and activities that I do, instead I feel that it motivates me to perform my best and prove that I am as capable as everyone else. One hobby in particular that I do is debating and as it is purely an activity that involves discussion, it is easy for a deaf person to miss things, however I feel that it does not drag me back as I am comfortable in asking people to repeat things when necessary. This hobby is also one that I would not have been able to have done without my speech skills.

I have been told that it is a shock that I am deaf as my speech is as good as everyone else’s and I have AVUK to thank for that. They are a wonderful organisation that has helped me and many other people have a drastically improved life by having better speech and language.

I am so pleased to continue to be part of this organisation and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!