Mia is 9 years old. She is a bright, charming, determined and courageous little girl. Mia loves princesses, dancing, dressing up and all things pink. She is very social, loves to talk and being with her family and friends. She is the youngest in the family and has a strong bond with her older brothers Oscar and Oliver.

Mia was also born with CHARGE syndrome, a rare genetic condition that can affect different parts of the body; the most common problems are with the hearing, vision, the heart, airways and growth.

In the weeks after her birth we learned that Mia was severely visually impaired, severe to profoundly deaf, had missing balance organs in her inner ear - meaning she would struggle to learn to walk and had problems with her swallowing and breathing. After weeks of being bombarded with long lists of serious medical diagnosis our whole family were in shock. We began to think about what the future held for Mia.

It took a while to get Mia’s audiology right due to her complex mixed hearing loss. We have explored every avenue available to us and when Mia was 6 she had bone-anchored hearing aids (BAHA) fitted. From a baby she has always been an excellent hearing aid user and this has really helped her develop her speech and language.

At times some people have underestimated Mia’s ability to develop speech because she struggles with her clarity or needs more time to process information. Perhaps this is partly due to a lack of training about children with a multi-sensory impairment, the impact this has on development and the strategies needed to help support the child.

I became Mia’s advocate. I had to be strong and pushy making sure she has every opportunity available to her in terms of audiology, therapy, support and education. I make sure people understand her, that she is bright and able and with the right support will reach her full potential. To be treated like any other child and not held back because of her difficulties.

Auditory Verbal UK have been amazing. They helped us understand the importance of early intervention. They have never underestimated Mia’s abilities. They have worked with Mia’s multi-sensory impairment and adapted her therapy to take into account her vision, hearing and balance difficulties.

Mia’s auditory verbal therapist has supported us with getting the right audiology, schooling, local speech and language therapy and Education, Health and Care Plan in place. Combining auditory verbal therapy with our local speech and language support has really pushed Mia's speech along, closing the gap in her speech delay.

We have very high expectations of Mia and have never underestimated her abilities. Mia has made amazing progress. Her speech and language is age appropriate and she has flourished at attends mainstream school where she is learning alongside her hearing peers.

Despite having to work four times harder to walk, talk, listen and learn, Mia is keeping up with her peers and going from strength to strength.