Sarah Everall Teacher Of The Deaf Completes aVUK Foundation Course

Sarena Everall is a Teacher of the Deaf in North Yorkshire. She recently completed AVUK’s foundation training course. Here she talks about her experience:

“When I trained as a Teacher of the Deaf 12 years ago, I learned about many aspects of the impact of deafness on a child both educationally and socially.  However, I also learned that with earlier identification, appropriate interventions from both health and education, provision of more advanced hearing aids and cochlear implants and more informative and detailed assessment procedures, the outcomes for deaf children were promising.  Although I was still concerned that, despite the progress made with all these advances in technology and provision, the National Deaf Children Society’s research still showed that children who are deaf achieve on average a grade lower at GCSE than their hearing peers.

I was introduced to Auditory Verbal therapy through a guest speaker at one of our Team meetings.  It was one of those ‘light bulb’ moments.  I loved the idea of providing families with a coaching programme so that they felt empowered and had the tools to support their child’s listening and spoken language.  After all, it is likely that the parents or caregivers would be with the child for most of their time during their early years.   It was explained to me that there was a diagnostic approach to Auditory Verbal therapy focusing on listening which was evaluated in a way that was meaningful for the family.

I was further encouraged by the research (Stepping Stones to Literacy), evidencing that deaf children on the Auditory Verbal therapy specialist early intervention programme were attaining educational outcomes on a par with hearing children. 

Then I started my journey. I was lucky to be given a bursary by AVUK, to fund my place on the foundation course. This was six months training based online, with a mix of webinars and podcasts. When I read the format of the course and realised I had to video myself during the Auditory Verbal therapy session with the child and family, I was a little nervous! But. I soon found this part of my learning really useful, as the videos were reviewed by the course tutor and the colleagues within my cohort.  They provided expert advice in an environment of trust, giving me really useful ideas for further development.

The curriculum for the foundation course was methodical and expertly put together.  I found the podcasts really useful in understanding areas of child development that would help inform my practice. These prepared you for the live webinars, where you could discuss your learning with your group and your Auditory Verbal therapist, who, as an expert, had a wealth of knowledge and could share their experiences.

As a busy Teacher of the Deaf covering a large rural area, I did wonder how I would manage participating and completing the tasks set.  I think acquiring such useful skills and knowledge and seeing how they could be directly integrated into my practice, gave me the motivation and confidence in applying them into my day to day sessions.  The course gave me the skills to equip parents so that they felt confident in the support they gave their child in the shared outcome of providing the most effective speaking and listening environments for their child.”

Find out more about AVUK’s training programme