Our specialist speech and language therapist Natalie Clark guides you through the twists and turns of a typical day at AVUK:

Caffeine. The therapists at AVUK are powered by many-a-cup of tea or coffee, and it’s always part of my morning routine that I grab a coffee on my commute into the AVUK London office (or if I’m very lucky one of my amazing colleagues will treat me to one).

The ‘quiet before the storm’ hour between 8.30am and 9.30am is the perfect time to raid the toy room, look through the children’s files, answer any urgent e-mails and plan the day.

There is a lot of planning and preparation that goes into our therapy sessions. We look at the child as a whole – What is their history? Where are they developmentally? What technology do they use? What are their hearing levels? What do they like to play with? What is their language level? Where are they in terms of motor development? What are their goals? How does the family learn best?
We think about these questions before every therapy session and carefully consider what we might play or do as a result.

My favourite part of my job is working with the children and families. It is an incredible privilege to be trusted into a family’s life and to work with them as a team. I still get butterflies when a family walk through the door.

Today I got to work with a wonderful family. There was singing, there was building, there was pretending to feed little toys with a spoon, there was peek-a-boo, but even better- there was new learning for Mum and for this little boy.

A crucial part of the Auditory Verbal role is to ensure that a child has the optimum access to sound through their technology. We’re so lucky to have Dr Josephine Marriage, a specialist audiologist work alongside us in the London office twice a week. Following our session I was able to join the family with Dr Marriage in the Audiology suite to check this little baby’s hearing and ensure that he’s getting the best information possible to his developing brain.

As much as I love my job, who doesn’t get excited for lunchtime? All the staff try to sit together for lunch each day – it’s a great opportunity to de-brief, chat and relax.

After lunch it’s time to prepare for another session but then…

The next family has unfortunately had to cancel their therapy session. It happens. Children or parents get sick, hospital appointments clash, transport falls through. With enough notice we are able to reschedule most appointments. Cancellations are often a great opportunity to catch up on the endless pile of paperwork and admin (e.g. reports, goals, e-mails, presentations, resources).

The AVUK team is made up of the clinical team, communications teams, fundraising team, operations team, finance and IT. We often work across teams on different projects and help each other out.

For example, today I met with Emma, our Relationships Manager. Her role is focused on building relationships with AVUK’s alumni and other supporters in order to grow income so that we can transform the lives of even more deaf children in the UK.

Emma and I sat down to talk through my own experiences of working with children who had had early access to AVT and those who had not, as well as what I’d experienced in my previous role.

Finally it is the end of the working day, but not the end for me! I’ve been training with Auditory Verbal UK for the last three years and have been working towards my certification as an Auditory Verbal therapist (AVT). To become an AVT you need to acquire 900 hours of clinical experience, have twenty sessions evaluated and observed, observe a further ten sessions yourself, learn information in ten different clinical domains and finally sit an exam covering it all. I’ve been studying in the lead up to sitting my exam, so at the end of the day it’s time to get to it and hit the books!

I feel incredibly lucky to work for a charity such as Auditory Verbal UK and absolutely love coming to work each day.