Auditory verbal therapy Case studies Kurran's story Kurran was born two months premature, in 2003, and quickly fell victim to a severe necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) infection. He spent the first two years of his life in hospital, underwent three lifesaving operations and has only 40% of his bowel intact. Having survived the first two years and, just when Kurran’s family thought their life was stabilising, they learnt their son is profoundly deaf. Kurran received a cochlear implant relatively late, at four years three months. He also has mild cerebral palsy and developmental delay. His father, Avy, tells their story. “It felt like there was a constant barrage of bad news every day – ‘he’s not going to walk’, ‘his limbs aren’t working’, ‘his femoral artery has been damaged’ and so on. Two years of coping with this and living in a hospital came close to destroying us. Then came the deafness diagnosis. To be honest, I felt helpless for the first time in my life and I was probably at my lowest ebb. Hearing aids made no difference and by the age of four, Kurran still hadn’t uttered a single comprehensive word. Despite Kurran being older than most children who are implanted, Great Ormond Street agreed to a single right side cochlear implant in September 2007. I’ll never forget the first time he was ‘switched on’! His eyes were like a rabbit in the headlights but though he could hear, crucially, he couldn’t interpret what the sounds meant. Discovering Auditory VerbalUK was like finding a huge inflatable balloon full of hope, help and real progress. Every time we went to AVUK, we were inspired and had complete confidence that we were in the safest, expert pair of hands. Through intensive AVT, Kurran managed to hear his first sound – a door bell – approximately 6 months after implantation and our therapist helped us put the very first words in Kurran’s mouth. For my wife, who had not heard her son say a single word, the best part of four and a half years came when he uttered his first word: “mummy”. It started to feel like we were on a roll and very soon Kurran had 50 or 60 words and was able to articulate most of his needs and demands. Mobility was still a huge issue for Kurran. He spent a lot of time in splints and crutches, as well as the walking frame. He had regular physiotherapy and everything in the house was adapted, but we kept his life as normal as possible, never restricting his capabilities or hope. Progress was painfully slow but I could see results. Around 2008, Kurran took his first independent steps. This small miracle was now unfolding and he could walk, listen, talk and read! Thanks to auditory verbal therapy, he had a rapidly developing vocabulary. He was also starting to eat everything orally and the doctors decided to close his gastro peg permanently. He is now standing upright and walking and talking, a lot. He doesn’t stop talking to be honest and he asks so many questions! Kurran is a vegetarian by choice - he loves animals and believes they are sent from God for us to enjoy and not to eat! He is such a curious boy and very sociable. He’s growing at a really fast rate and has all of the normal teenage demands expected; the mobile phone, the iPad and a bedroom littered with car or pet magazines. He loves animals and hopes one day to work with pets. He is currently rehearsing for his school play – he tells me he has a central part and is practising his lines every day. And he’s learning German too, scoring 9 out of 10 in his German test today! We are so proud of him.” Kurran's father Avy, February 2016 *** In 2018 Kurran starred in AVUK's BBC Lifeline appeal. Watch it here.