Our Outreach Lead and Auditory Verbal Therapist Noel Kenely spends the day in Denmark, delivering training to a cohort in Middlefart:

4:00am: My alarm went off two hours earlier than usual. I quietly crept to the kitchen to make myself a strong coffee, while doing my best not to not wake the dogs up! By 4:30am I was out of the door in a cab towards Stansted Airport.

5:30am: I was already at Stansted airport queuing up for the check-in. There were a lot more people than I had anticipated for a Monday morning but I soon remembered that it was the Easter holidays. A lot of families and teachers were making the most of their time off and going on holiday. I was excited because despite the early start I knew my day would be very different than the usual nine to five!

7:00am: Usually at this time I’d be taking a train to Stratford but today I’m boarding a flight to…Denmark! I’d never been to Denmark before so I was excited to visit a different country for work.

8:00am: During the flight I decided to take out my laptop and go over the presentations I planned to deliver in the afternoon. AVUK was invited by Decibel; a Danish voluntary organisation whose main aim is to ensure that deaf children and adolescents in Denmark get the best-possible opportunities in life through state-of-the-art technology and early intervention.

Decibel is a parent-run organisation that wants to secure the very best for their children and the future deaf children of Denmark. They have even managed to convince their government to fund three years of free AVT to every deaf child in Denmark. It’s safe to say that I was feeling inspired! 

10:00am: My stomach was rumbling so what more appropriate way to have breakfast than with a Danish pastry at Billund airport.

10:05am: That Danish pastry went down nicely, if too quickly! This is the part I was feeling a bit hesitant about as I needed to take a bus and two trains to get to my destination: Middlefart! Thankfully the Danes were more than happy to help me find my way to the bus station.

11:28am I take a train from Vejle to Middlefart which I learned stands for ‘middle’ ‘way’. It is at the narrowest spot on the strait between the island of Funen and the Jutland Pensinsula.

12:05pm A train ride and quick cab drive later I reached the training location. A hotel overlooking the Little Belt strait. I was greeted by the lovely Maria Hallstrøm from Decibel who made me feel welcome and invited me to join the delegates for lunch.

12:30pm: I joined a group of about 25 speech and language therapists, audiologists and teachers who are all studying to become Auditory Verbal Therapists or are already Certified AVTs. I ran two workshops with them, the first on planning playful therapy sessions, and the second on functional goal-setting.

It was a wonderful afternoon with a lot of sharing of good practice among the different professionals in the room.

Whilst I was there I got to meet with the majority of the research team from Decibel who have been doing some impressive work in gathering precious data and information about the outcomes of deaf children in Denmark. It is always such an honour to be in the company of trailblazers!

4:00pm: After a long but productive day, it was time to start my journey back to Billund airport. The train and bus journey back was fairly straightforward, and I got to the airport in no time. My flight was not for another few hours so I decided to do some work on my next big workshop which will be done at the AG Bell Global Listening and Spoken Language Symposium in July in Madrid! As part of my preparation I’m reading an interesting book by Tamsin Grimmer ‘Observing and Developing Schematic Behaviour in Young Children’.

7:00pm: My flight was at 10:00pm so I still had a bit more time to go before leaving Denmark so I decided to get some nice fish and chips from the airport restaurant. Who knew fish and chips was a thing in Denmark? It was delicious.

10:00pm: I finally board the plane back to London. It had been a long day but quite exciting meeting parents and professionals who are working hard to make a difference in the lives of deaf children.

00:00am: I finally walked in the door at home. The dogs made a fuss, but I tried to keep them quiet so they don’t wake up the neighbours. I’m afraid my other half wasn’t as lucky! I go to sleep immediately before another early start tomorrow!