Islay is happy, confident young girl who loves learning and listening and is about to start school in September alongside her twin brother Archie.

Like many parents Jonathan and Victoria are slightly apprehensive about this milestone in their daughter’s life but they have additional concerns as Islay was diagnosed with hearing loss at birth and uses hearing aids and a radio aid.

But thanks to the family-centred specialist therapy programme at Auditory Verbal UK which supports deaf babies and children to learn to listen and talk Islay will be starting school with fantastic listening skills and a wonderful vocabulary ensuring she has the same opportunities as her twin brother and other hearing peers.

To thank the charity and allow other families with young deaf children the chance to benefit from the programme Jonathan is taking on a mammoth cycling challenge – a mountain section of the famous Tour de France cycle race - it’s about 135Km and 4,800M of vertical climbing and was the route of the 2019 Tour d’etape.

He explained: “We were recommended to AVUK from the friend of a colleague who told us what an amazing charity they were. We are fortunate to be able to afford to pay for the therapy. But all deaf children should achieve what typical hearing children achieve, and this should not be limited to wealthy parents who can afford services. By helping teach deaf kids to listen better and speak AVUK creates much better outcomes for them.”

“I’ve been explaining to people that hearing aids do not have the same effect as glasses for people with impaired vision, even with them in children miss a huge amount of auditory information. But the auditory verbal therapy helps to fill this gap.”

 “In a masked Covid world where lip-reading has suddenly become very difficult, and access to council run speech services even more impossible than pre-Covid the need for the services that charities like AVUK offer has never been greater.”

Jonathan and two colleagues will be travelling to France on Friday and aims to complete the notorious cyle route in around eight hours. To sponsor him and read a bit more:

To find out how we support all families through our bursary scheme visit