Reece passed his newborn hearing screening but months later we began to have doubts about his hearing and were especially concerned that his speech would be delayed.

At 18-months old he still hadn’t spoken a word but there was such a backlog from Covid so we took the decision to have a private assessment and then aged two Reece was finally diagnosed with profound hearing loss in both ears.

The news was earth shattering, how could we have not seen this earlier? What does this mean for the future? How can I communicate with my child? Will he ever speak?

We were thrown into a new reality which consumed us entirely. Thankfully there were no more delays with care from this point, he was seen quickly for cochlear implant assessment and was implanted just four months later.

We discovered AVUK when reading the CICS newsletter (Cochlear Implanted Childrens Support group) and joined a call to meet with an Auditory Verbal therapist. We knew immediately we wanted Reece on the program. From our first session 2 months after activation, we felt we were in safe hands and that feeling remains 2 years on.

In the initial assessment Reece did not engage much since he was still adjusting to his CI’s but this did not deter us. I could tell the techniques would work given time and they were easy to pick up and continue at home. It wasn’t long before he started to engage with the sessions and very early on, we had a first clear word of ‘more’, displaying exactly what AV could help us achieve.

The Auditory Verbal therapy approach is very child and family centered, I am always amazed with how adaptable the sessions are and how our therapist intuitively knows how to get the most out of them.

It is very hard to put into words how much AVUK has helped our family, I really wouldn’t like to imagine what stage Reece would be at now without their expert support and guidance. Not only has the progress been phenomenal and exceeding our own expectations but they have guided us through other challenges not related to speech and language. For instance, I was finding the simple task of walking to school a challenge and our therapist incorporated this into one of our sessions, role playing the sequence of events then the following week there was a sudden improvement where he was happy to hold my hand whilst crossing the carpark. This may seem small but it was huge at the time.

We live in Essex and decided to have a hybrid model of both tele-practice and in-person sessions. This works even more than I had expected. We really do have the best of both worlds, the sessions at home benefit from convenience, comfort and Reece getting to show off his own toys and interests. The in-person sessions are a very exciting day out, he loves to go on the trains. Seeing the therapist in person helps to build their relationship, Reece really looks forward to his sessions wherever they are based.

We have also received a bursary from AVUK which has made the therapy accessible to us, without it we would have needed to raise funds somehow that would have put extra stress and strain on us as a family at a time when we were already extremely stressed. 

Reece’s listening is amazing we can talk to him from behind and even in a different room and he will hear us. His speech is really progressing to a point now where lots of what he says is understood. His vocabulary is comparable to a two- or three-year-old. But what is more important is his confidence has excelled, where he now chases down friends at preschool and happily greets them ‘good morning’, when just a few weeks ago he was shy and reluctant to speak when asked to or approached by strangers. This I feel is his turning point and now we are focusing on clarity which again shows promising signs. We are excited for the future and feel lucky that Auditory Verbal therapy and cochlear implants were available to us, without them our lives would be very different.


Helen – Reece’s Mum