We moved to the UK from Brazil as a family when João Pedro Brosatto de Oliveira - or JP as we call him - was seven months old. When he was about two we started to get concerned about his lack of speech. Initially, we thought it might be because he was learning two languages, Portuguese and English, however, we feared for the worst.

After some tests, JP was diagnosed with bilateral neural sensory hearing loss caused by CONNEXIN 26 genetic mutation. After learning that our son was deaf we jumped onto a rollercoaster journey full of fear, anxiety, and lack of information.

Even after his diagnosis, nothing changed for JP, he remained to be the same smart and happy boy. However, for us, it was tough, so far away from our extended family and friends. We feared for his future and thought that as a deaf person he would be unable to have a normal life. We didn’t know how to burst the bubble which had grown up around him and we lost confidence and didn’t know how to communicate with him anymore.

We also faced lots of anxiety and because we didn't know how NHS worked and we didn't have any knowledge about his condition. All we could do was wait.

As both of us are service designers as we do in our day to day job, we started to research about the treatment possibilities and the patient journey. We learned that technology was a great ally to us not just by connecting us to our family and friends but also it would be the biggest enabler of his future. This technology would transform his disability into a superpower - I'm talking about the cochlear implants.

JP received his implants in November 2018 age 3 years old and after his switch on we started to get more involved with members of the deaf community and all the parents we spoke to recommended Auditory Verbal UK.

We had our first session with AVUK in February 2019 and I saw JP doing things that we had never seen before. Since then, we had the opportunity to work alongside different therapists, all of them talented and great communicators.

We have also worked with the team at AVUK to teach JP in both Portuguese and English and have two therapists working with us, one who speaks Portuguese. As a family, we are fluent in both languages but decided to work in Portuguese especially as JP has now gone to school and needs to work in the two languages. The senior therapist speaks English and the second translates his plan in both languages so our extended family can also share in the tasks.

It is thanks to AVUK that, JP’s speech has continued to developing alongside his confidence in using speech as his main way of communicating with us and his peers.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, we were forced to abandon the face-to-face sessions and move to the telepractice. JP continued to progress and although the change was initially difficult to adjust to, he interacted a lot with the therapists.

JP loves school and although, due to his late diagnosis and late implantation we know we still have a long way to go it is wonderful to hear him use his voice. - Bruno and Vanessa, JP's parents