A deaf North West London six-year-old and his family have helped launch a nationwide event to thank the charity which helped him to learn to listen and talk and continued to support deaf children and their families throughout the global pandemic.
Orson Grimer, from West Hampstead, along with his sister Mei (3) and their parents Avril and Martin have given their backing to Auditory Verbal UK’s Loud Shirt Day event which this year takes place on October 23rd.
The family will be joining others up and down the country wearing their brightest clothes to get LOUD and help create a sound future for deaf children.
Orson was born three-months prematurely and after weeks in intensive care he was diagnosed with moderate-severe high frequency sensorineural hearing loss in both ears (his hearing loss has been caused by a mutation on the Connexin 26 gene). Orson was fitted with hearing aids at 18-months-old.
His Mum Avril explained: “Being deaf is not a learning disability and we did not want his opportunities and future to be defined by his deafness. I found out about Auditory Verbal therapy from my cousin in Australia and found the charity, Auditory Verbal UK in this country. Orson started his sessions at two years old.”
The family-centred early intervention programme helps support deaf babies and children to learn to listen and talk. The charity has continued to provide its specialised programme throughout the pandemic moving all of its services quickly to online and digital platforms. This ensured that those families already on its programme could still access vital support and new families didn’t delay in helping their deaf children on the journey to listening and speaking on a par with hearing peers.
“Auditory Verbal UK has been our lifeline. We wanted to equip Orson with the skills and knowledge that he can achieve whatever he wants in life as his hearing loss will never hold him back,” Avril added as the family helped launch Loud Shirt Day.
“It’s so easy to make a difference – just dress up in your loudest clothes, get all your family involved and of course your pets and post your photos on social media #LoudShirtDay. Or why not have a Loud Shirt party joining friends and families virtually. Don’t forget to donate – it’s easier than ever online or you can text LOUD to 70970 to donate £5 or 70191 to donate £10.
“Orson is now in year two at school and is delighted that he is a school house captain! Since he started school he’s really grown in confidence. He’s like any other six-year-old – an avid reader, he could chat to you for hours about Harry Potter and how to play Terraria, he loves riding his bike, doing karate and annoying his younger sister!”