2016 has been an extraordinary year for Auditory Verbal UK.

As 2016 draws to a close, we would like to thank everyone who has helped us to create a sound future for more deaf children in the UK. This year has seen us work with over 150 families from across the UK; expand our internationally accredited training programmes for health and education professionals; publish new research demonstrating the impact of our auditory verbal programme and receive recognition in a number of industry and sector awards.  We have hosted visitors from every continent to our centres and are proud to have presented our work at a number of domestic and international conferences.

This year, our Research Coordinator, Dr Sarah Hogan, completed a 10 year audit of our outcomes. The study showed that of the children who are on our programme for two years or more, 80% graduated with age appropriate language. 

Today our little boy is talking away and it is all thanks to the guidance and dedicated hard work of AVUK. We feel so optimistic about Sam’s bright future and we don’t feel his deafness will hold him back from achieving anything he wants to do.

Our five-year strategy, which was also published this year, outlined our organisation’s three main objectives: to continue supporting families, to continually improve how we work, and to transform service provision. Our goal is for all deaf children to have the opportunity to access an auditory verbal programme close to where they live.  In order to achieve this, we have worked hard this year to raise awareness of  the outcomes for children following an auditory verbal programme and challenge perceptions of what deaf children can achieve.

In June we hosted our first Power of Speech event at the Houses of Parliament. Nine deaf children, who learnt to listen and speak at Auditory Verbal UK, spoke in front of MPs and experts in the field of hearing loss. The event was hosted by us, Neil Carmichael MP and Dimity Dornan, Executive Director and Founder of Hear and Say, Australia. It was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements of these children who showed us that their hearing loss is no barrier to achieving and that they can do the same things in life as their hearing friends.  You can watch a short film of the event here.

We published our cost benefit analysis titled ‘Investing in a sound future for deaf children’ in June. The first three and a half years of life are critical for the development of listening and talking and for the foundations of literacy and numeracy. With effective early intervention, we know that deaf children can achieve on a par with their hearing peers. To enable commissioners and professionals across the education and health sectors to better understand the cost and benefits of this approach, we published our report which showed that for every £1 invested in our auditory verbal therapy programme, there is a £4 return. We also launched our position paper, which demonstrates the impact of auditory verbal therapy. 

Our first national awareness day - Loud Shirt Day UK – took place in 2016.  Thousands of individuals in schools and organisations across the UK put on their brightest clothes on 17 June and got LOUD for deaf children. Also getting LOUD to support the campaign were some very well-known names, including Usain Bolt, Daniel Radcliffe, Paloma Faith and Maisie Williams to name but a few!  Watch out for news of Loud Shirt Day 2017 which will take place on Friday 16th June.

We were delighted to host our first carol evening, in December, which featured children who learnt to listen and speak at Auditory Verbal UK.  It was a brilliant opportunity to engage with our local community in Bermondsey, where our London centre moved to in 2015, and to raise vital funds for our work. Photos from the event are available here.

Throughout 2016, we have been selling our new book 'Baby Talk'. The book helps children learn to listen, understand and play through simple pictures, words and role play with real life scenarios. Copies are available here

And to end the year, we are thrilled to have won the Learning Award at the Children and Young People Now Awards which was given to the initiative that has made the best contribution to improving educational achievement.

We could not do what we do without the generous support of so many individuals and organisations and on behalf of all the team; the families, children and professionals that we work with, we would like to say a huge thank you for all that you have done, and continue to do to create a sound future for deaf children.