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 Verbal UK 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. Kurran is now 18 and like many teenagers he loves going out, clothes and music. He has settled into college where he has made many new friends and as well as studying, the college are also helping him become a young adult and work towards being ready to go into the working world in the future. He is also taking driving lessons in a car with a couple of adaptations to support his cerebral palsy. He can’t wait to pass and be able to gain even more independence and hopes to be able to use his driving skills in the future to work with young people. He’d love to be a teaching assistant as well as drive children to school who may need that extra bit of help. It seems like a very long while ago when Kurran barely spoke – now he doesn’t stop and he is joy to have at home. Even in lockdown it was a pleasure, he helped me cook and has developed a keen interest in baking. AVUK always encouraged us to be ambitious for what Kurran can achieve and we can’t wait to see what is next for him in his life.” Kurran's parents Avy and Kulvinder February 2022 In 2018 Kurran starred in AVUK's BBC Lifeline appeal. Watch it here.