From the day I found out that Lily was deaf, I always said I would not rest until she could talk.

I had noticed Lily’s speech was not progressing as it should be when she was about two-and-a-half years old and speech therapy was making no difference. She had passed her newborn hearing screening but being thorough I decided to arrange another test. She was diagnosed with mild to moderate hearing impairment and I was told that Lily would benefit from hearing aids.

As a mother nothing can prepare you for this news. The emotion I felt that day was a day I will never forget. I was filled with sadness, panic, shock and devastation and from that day forward our lives would never be the same.

I had Lily fitted with hearing aids and began speech therapy to give her a good chance of developing her spoken language.

Tests revealed that Lily’s hearing would deteriorate due to a genetic condition and within two years she was assessed as severely to profoundly deaf.

Hearing aids no longer benefited Lily and she was unable to hear speech sounds. Even though Lily remained a bright, happy and positive child it was clear that she was then struggling in all aspects of daily life.

After an assessment it was agreed that Lily should have surgery for cochlear implants and this was the only chance she would have in ever accessing sound or speech. Lily received her cochlear implants – or as we call them her “Special Ears” - in February 2017 at the age of 5.

I was chatting with another parent at my daughter’s school one day who mentioned AVUK. With great feedback I went home and looked on AVUK’s website. I immediately knew that I’d found something more specialised in deafness than standard speech therapy and with a huge ethos in getting deaf children to talk like just like other hearing children.

Our first session was fantastic and a real breath of fresh air. It became immediately clear that the staff and therapists were so knowledgeable on childhood deafness and had the added ability to give advice with huge resources that would benefit my daughter and me on our journey. We immediately felt like part of the community at AVUK, working with people who are just as passionate as I was in getting my child to talk.

Our sessions at AVUK became a way of life and Lily grew to be excited when she knew it was time for therapy.

I recommend AVUK to all parents of deaf children and feel it should be nationalised so that each and every deaf child can access this therapy as part of their local authority funding.

Lily is now 12 and doing fantastically and is still learning new sounds and words every day! We have just celebrated her 6th cochlear implant birthday celebration - the anniversary of which we celebrate every year. She is so proud to have special ears!

We have always been determined to be part of the deaf community and I have also completed qualifications in BSL which enables me to talk with profoundly deaf signing children and adults. I have self taught Lily BSL as a language reinforcement which also enables her to communicate with deaf people and friends that we have met along the way. 

It has been a tough journey with huge battles along the way. Although the positives that come from such a journey are priceless. Myself, and Lily have achieved so much together being strong and staying happy the entire time and the result is simply evident.

Our life will always be bright with endless possibilities and Lily will not be held back believing that she can achieve anything she puts her mind to. She is a true inspiration to myself and anyone that meets her as I call her “My very Special Little Girl!”.

Lily won the community spirit award at the annual Signature Awards in November 2018. The awards celebrate those who strive to improve communication and experiences for deaf and deafblind people. 

Lily was the only child to win an award which she was nominated for thanks to her fundraising efforts for causes including Auditory Verbal UK.

I could not be more proud! Both myself and family are absolutely over the moon that she has been recognised for all her hard work helping others, inspiring determination and raising deaf awareness within the community. A truly wonderful achievement at such a young age.

- Angela, Lily's mother