In September 2019, Charis Selfridge-Poor gave birth to twin boys, Beau and Cooper, and soon after not only were the family dealing with the hearing loss diagnosis and a number of other medical complications but the global pandemic arrived which changed everything. In particular, in-person face-to-face support was no longer available. The twins’ cochlear implant surgery was delayed and the family continued to support the boys and research the communication options available for deaf children.

"When you are told your babies are profoundly deaf it turns your world upside down, you grieve for the future of the life you believe they will never have. But as a parent you also start looking into every single thing you can do to help them and give them the very best opportunity and future you can.” Charis explained.

 “We were recommended Auditory Verbal therapy and AVUK through friends and many people in a similar situation. Even before their implants our healthcare team reassured us about many of our concerns and we knew we wanted to follow a listening and speaking programme.”

At the same time as beginning the Auditory Verbal programme at AVUK, Charis began looking for more ways she could support the boys – in particular with books and toys.

Already an author of a couple of children’s books, Charis wanted to create something which supported her own family but could also support others in the same situation.

Central to any child learning to speak is having excellent access to the sounds of speech. The Ling sounds are six speech sounds which Auditory Verbal pioneer, Daniel Ling, promoted as a good way of checking a child's access to speech sounds across the speech frequency range. The Ling sound test can provide an initial assessment of a child's functional hearing. These sounds sparked an idea in Charis who began to put together rhyming couplets to create an engaging story using the Ling sounds.

“I created characters and images for each of the LING sounds - a mouse squeaks 'Eee', mum bakes a yummy cake, 'Mmm', a snake hissess 'Sss', an owl hoots 'Ooo', a baby sleeps ' Shh' and a toy plane whirs ' Aaahh'. And “My Noisy House – a Ling Story” began to take shape.”

The book is already available to buy on Amazon. On six different levels of the tall, noisy house there is a different Ling sound character or image including the little boy at the top flying his toy plane with the sound 'aaahh’.

Charis said: “It’s great to see the book out there and I really hope other families with deaf children enjoy it and find it useful.

But Charis’ dream is to not only write more books to support her children and other deaf children but expand the books with toys matching the illustrations in the story.

“I know that my boys react well to toys as well as to imagery and this is central to the AVUK programme which is play-based. I also want these toys to be able to withstand chewing from a small child as my own experience has also shown that any toys go straight in my boys’ mouths!

 “We know we are very definitely on the right road to give Beau and Cooper the future they deserve.”

To find out more about the early intervention family centred play based Auditory Verbal therapy programme offered by AVUK to support deaf babies and children to learn to listen and speak visit our webpage.