Lola's Story When we first found out that Lola hadn’t passed her newborn hearing test we weren’t concerned, thinking it was just fluid and would clear itself up. Then, when suddenly we were told that Lola would be fitted with hearing aids the following week it was quite a shock. Our dreams for Lola were shattered. Marc’s family are French and mine are Spanish. We had planned to speak both French and Spanish with Lola and hoped she would share our passions for music and dance. My biggest fear is that she would feel isolated and only be able to communicate at a basic level. We began a blur of appointments and tests finding out that Lola had Waardenburg syndrome, and so we started to learn sign language. We were feeling quite lost. As Lola was profoundly deaf she was a candidate for cochlear implants. I spent many late nights reading and researching about what the outcomes might be. It was then that I came across AVUK and watched videos of children speaking. Unfortunately, they were based in London and the fees seemed out of our reach. We discussed the programme, found out there was a bursary we could apply for and decided this was what we needed to do. We travelled to London and immediately we were put at ease and accepted onto the programme before Lola even had access to sound. Every fortnight for the next few years we would travel to London and were coached on the techniques we would need to ensure Lola had the best possible outcomes. The tiredness and travelling were worth it. AVUK gave us specific play based techniques to practice, which helped us to interact and engage with Lola in fun ways and we had clear targets to focus on before our next session. Although progress was slow at the start, as Lola had spent a whole year without access to sound, we knew we were going in the right direction. Not only did AVUK provide us with the skills to communicate effectively with our daughter but the motivation to keep going, they encouraged us to believe that all our hopes and dreams for Lola were possible and supported us with any concerns we had. Now, we look back and all the milestones have been so much sweeter because of all the work we have put in, I remember crying the first time I heard her say ‘I love you mama!’. Having that intensive input during that important window of opportunity to develop language means we are now in a place we never thought we would be and couldn’t have achieved without AVUK. Lola is bilingual French and English and starting to learn Spanish. She loves music and dancing and is a real chatterbox. She is confident, has a great sense of humour and is a little bit bossy and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for her. Gina - Lola's Mum.