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Auditory Verbal UK: Creating a sound future for deaf children

18th October 2016

A guest blog by Beth Cardwell, Family Support and Development Officer at Auditory Verbal UK, on how they work with the families of deaf babies and children aged 0-5 across the UK.

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It can be an overwhelming time for parents when their baby or child is diagnosed with a hearing loss. Of all the children born with a hearing loss, 90% are born to hearing parents who have no family history of deafness. Parents often find it a challenging process to explore the communication options that are available for their child.  Many do not realise that listening and talking is an option for their child and that profoundly deaf children can achieve spoken language skills on a par with typically hearing children.

Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK) is a small charity that works with the families of deaf babies and children aged 0-5 across the UK.  With offices in London and Bicester, we support families through our early intervention programme delivered by highly specialist auditory verbal therapists. 80% of children who are on the AVUK programme for at least two years achieve listening and spoken language on a par with their hearing peers. We also support the development of the child’s thinking and social skills.

Therapy session at Auditory VerbalUK

Therapy session at Auditory Verbal UK

The support we offer to families

Parents usually contact us when they are exploring what communication options are available for their child who has a hearing impairment. Auditory verbal therapists are specialists in developing listening and spoken language through play-based activities and work with families who want their child to be able to listen and talk. These early intervention practitioners work in partnership with parents and equip them with the techniques to develop their child’s listening and spoken language which can be integrated in everyday routines and conversations.

Typically, children are on the programme for two to three years. AVUK offers means-tested bursary support to families, which can cover up to 100% of the fees. As part of the tailored programme, families are supported with Education, Health and Care plans and can attend parent workshops where they can meet other families who are also supported by AVUK.

‘AVUK gave us hope, encouragement and the strength to help our little boy find his voice’

Parents of a child who became profoundly deaf after meningitis

To find out more from the families who have been supported by AVUK, please see the case studies on our website.

How you can help

There are some helpful resources on the Institute of Health Visiting website (please see Good Practice Points under Health, Wellbeing and Development of the Child) about how to support parents who have recently found out that their child is deaf. Health visitors have such a unique and important role in supporting families and their newborns – if a family you are working with has recently found out their child is deaf, are looking into what the options are for their child or have expressed that they wish for their child to listen and talk, please direct them to our website. Parents are very welcome to email or call us and we would be happy to answer any questions they may have:

Phone: 01869 325 000

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.avuk.org

Beth Cardwell, Family Support and Development Officer at AVUK