Larissa McColganLarissa McColgan (pictured on the left) is a Teacher of the Deaf, based in Ayrshire, Scotland . She works at the Ayrshire Deaf Education Service which supports the needs of children with a hearing loss and their families from diagnosis until school leaving age. Larissa has been a Teacher of the Deaf for 12 years. She completed a post-grad course in inclusive education and came across the deaf education service by chance. She said, “They offered me a few days' work a week and I loved it. I wanted to ensure that deaf children were fully included in their places of education and had the communication skills needed for life.”

Larissa said she decided to start training as an Auditory Verbal Therapist after joining a few online sessions with a family and their Auditory Verbal Therapist. She said, “I was amazed by how much the child was able to do through listening. The parents felt empowered because they were given strategies that they could use every day to help their little girl understand what they were saying and get her own message across to them using spoken language. I could see the difference it was making to their life.”

Larissa started Auditory Verbal UK’s foundation course ‘Working through audition’ in September 2019. She said, “through watching the video podcasts, I learned about using Auditory Verbal strategies when working with young deaf children, how to make sessions functional and fun and most importantly how to coach parents and early years practitioners in using the strategies.

In September 2020 (during the Covid pandemic) I started the advanced course and learned how to deliver sessions via video calls. This meant families could continue with regular sessions and get vital support during very challenging times.”

Explaining what she enjoyed about the training, she said “I enjoyed the webinars with participants from around the world and our mentor Susie. We discussed our learning as well as children on our caseloads. The topics covered in the podcasts were all extremely useful and the knowledge gained has made me a more effective Teacher of the Deaf. I was surprised by how quickly some children progressed with developing their listening and spoken language skills once the parents were using the strategies consistently. It was wonderful to see parents’ confidence increase and become advocates for their child at meetings and appointments.”

Talking about goals and ambitions for the future, Larissa said “I would like Auditory Verbal therapy to be freely available to all families in Scotland who want their deaf child to use listening and spoken language.”

 “I would highly recommend the training with AVUK to Teachers of the Deaf, Speech and Language Therapists or Audiologists who work with families of young deaf children. It involves commitment, hard work, and support from your employer, and it offers a chance to grow and become part of an exciting international network of professionals.”

Larissa has now completed the advanced course and is the first Teacher of the Deaf to qualify as an Auditory Verbal therapist in Scotland.

Find out more about AVUK’s training course.