Maci failed her newborn hearing test when she was just a few days old and living in Shetland the family faced a long boat trip to Aberdeen each way waiting for the result to be confirmed by specialist paediatric audiologists, not available on the island, before they were told their daughter had a profound hearing loss.

Mum Nicole said: “We were shocked and upset and had a 12-hour trip on the ferry with no internet access and just our thoughts to absorb the news. I just remember there being lots of words I had no idea what that meant, and we just felt very isolated.”

Back at home in Shetland, Nicole set about researching and reading everything she could about deafness in babies before she met the family’s teacher of the deaf.

Maci received her hearing aids at three-months, but the family were warned that due to her profound level of hearing loss there may not be a reaction.

“At that time we decided we would put her name down for cochlear implants which still gave us the chance to find out more and consider our choices. Before Maci was born I had no idea what a cochlear implant was,” explained Nicole.

With continued support from their teacher of the deaf the family agreed that implants would be the best option for Maci and she received her cochlear implants in March 2022 at 14 months old.

Nicole said: “Even as a baby we could see that Maci was getting very frustrated at not having the means to communicate. We did use some sign language but also wanted to give her the opportunity to learn to speak.

“I first heard about Auditory Verbal UK on an online forum for parents with newly diagnosed deaf babies organised by the NDCS. One of the other mums was talking about it so both myself and our teacher of the deaf found out more and it sounded perfect for us.

“We met Noel at an online Meet an AVT sessions organised by the charity and I just knew this was the way we should go and we have never looked back.”

Living in Shetland the family have opted for telepractice sessions conducted online and couldn’t be happier. “I love them. They are so convenient, especially living in Shetland. It is just like Mariavittoria [Auditory Verbal Therapist] is in the room with is. She hands Maci things and for us it is no different to face-to-face.

“We are also in the process of applying for a bursary – there is no way we could afford the therapy without it and AVUK have been so supportive allowing us to have our sessions even before the paperwork is finalised.

“And we are absolutely over the moon with how AVUK and the therapy has supported Maci and us as a family. It makes so much sense and everything we learn we use every day with Maci as well as sharing the details with family and Maci’s nursery so they can support too. It doesn’t put too much pressure on Maci either as it is all play – not like a ‘lesson’ at all.

“Maci has only been on the programme for four months and has already smashed her six-month goals. For anyone thinking about Auditory Verbal therapy I would recommend it 110% and for us in a small community in Shetland AVUK has given us a link to a deaf community which we might not have had otherwise.

 “Maci loves nursery and can now make herself understood. She is sociable and outgoing and quite headstrong! We can’t wait to see her carry on developing her speech and her personality and we will continue to find out more about being deaf and the d/Deaf community, but we know with the support we’ve had it will not stop her being who she wants to be and doing what she wants to do.”

Nicole - Maci's Mum.