We believe deaf children should have the opportunity to listen and speak as equals alongside their hearing peers and so for this year's Deaf Awareness Week (15th-21st May) we are celebrating the achievements of some of the children we have worked with to raise expectations for what deaf children can achieve. 

Below is the story of Audrey, written by mum Katy.

"It’s coming up to ten years since I first heard about Auditory Verbal UK.  In September 2007, my daughter Audrey, who had been diagnosed with profound sensori-neural hearing loss at the age of 6 weeks, made her first visit to Bicester.

From that first visit, we realized we had to turn all our worries and pessimism into determination and optimism.  We were not to limit our expectations, and although during those two to three years of getting Audrey to learn to listen and speak, there were uncertainties and exhaustion and anxiety, the team at AV were always there keeping us on track.  And the outcome has been way beyond what we would have dared to dream. 

Now 10, and in year 5 at school, Audrey lives her life to the max:  besides enjoying school, she performs regularly with her theatre group, often in leading roles and sometimes with accents! (did I doubt she’d ever develop clear speech?); she has just achieved Merit in her Grade Two ballet exam and last year got a Distinction for Grade One recorder (did I worry that she wouldn’t be able to appreciate music?); she is a key player in her school football team – unbeaten in their league last season - (did I assume that her hearing aids or implants would make sports a bit tricky?) and she also loves swimming and skiing.  She is one of the best creative writers in her class despite my fears that her hearing impairment might limit her grasp of language.

Star-studded achievements aside, I am just as proud of how willingly and efficiently Audrey deals with her technology, her radio aids, her AquaPlus etc.  And she was so, so brave and calm when one of her implants failed two years ago, and at the age of 8 she had to undergo another operation to replace it.

Maybe the main problem we face on a day-to-day basis is that at times it feels as though Audrey never stops talking!  Jacqueline Stokes did warn me that would happen.  Also, most of the time, everyone – including us – forgets that she is deaf – she copes just too well.  And when a little slip-up reminds us that she doesn’t always hear as well as a normal person, I do remember AV warning me about this too – even 6 years after Audrey graduated, the AV training is still enormously applicable.

But it wasn’t just the training in Auditory Verbal that we were given:  it was the “can do, sky’s the limit, go for it” AV attitude that enabled my beautiful deaf baby daughter to grow up into a beautiful, happy, successful, funny, chatty, confident little girl.  Still deaf – but that is absolutely not going to stop her!"