After being born prematurely, Tyler spent the first 10 weeks of his life in hospital. In preparation to be discharged, he underwent a hearing test, which was when we found out Tyler was deaf. Looking back I believe that I was in denial and sure that it was a mistake, but after several more hearing tests it hit home that he has significant hearing loss. Both Tyler’s mother and I are hearing and from hearing families, so we felt totally underprepared for how best to support him. 

I was keen for him to be able to communicate verbally to give him the best start in a “talking world”. He started using hearing aids around the time of his first birthday but after many hearing tests he was diagnosed with auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder and as he approached his third birthday he was still not talking.

We decided to take him for a private hearing assessment where we discovered his hearing loss qualified him for cochlear implants and where we first heard about Auditory Verbal therapy and AVUK.

And that is when everything began to change. We started on AVUK’s Auditory Verbal therapy family programme to support Tyler to learn to listen and talk, before his cochlear implant surgery which was carried out at the beginning of 2023.

Being based in the north of England, we had some initial concerns about attending therapy sessions in person, so we were pleased to learn that AVUK facilitate remote sessions via the internet. Our Auditory Verbal Therapist is easily contactable via emails and all of our therapy sessions have been via telepractice online. This provides us access to the therapy with minimal impact on our everyday life. We get ‘take home’ messages at the end of every session to allow us to work on Tyler’s listening and talking goals in between sessions.

I know that the “magic Hollywood moments” on the internet of children receiving cochlear implants are not a true reflection of the work and support needed for deaf children to make sense of the sound received through their hearing technology and develop spoken language. But because Tyler had a late start with his therapy, I always feared I would never get my “magic moment” of hearing him talk, but hearing him say “police car” for the first time filled me with pride and joy.

The journey for Tyler and us has already been difficult and we know we have a long journey ahead, but AVUK has supported in so many ways not just with Auditory Verbal therapy.

We would not have been able to access the program without the bursary scheme. We were fully supported through the application process by the AVUK family support team. They have also helped us through other sessions they run solely for parents of deaf children giving us ideas of how we can adapt the therapy for Tyler.

Now five Tyler is a typical little boy – an adrenaline junky who loves roller coasters, adventures in the woods and riding his scooter.

He doesn’t see himself as different to any other five-year-old, he loves putting in his implants every morning and his speech is coming on so much now.

I couldn’t recommend AVUK enough to families who want their deaf child to speak, and I can’t wait for the next magic moments we have with Tyler as I know there will be so many more.


-          Martyn Tyler’s Dad.