Mia is an amazing, bright, funny and brave nine-year-old girl who has a number of additional needs including hearing loss.
Although only 37 per cent of adults believe a child born profoundly deaf can learn to speak as well as a hearing child,* Mia and other deaf children are challenging this view and attends mainstream school after support in her early years by Auditory Verbal UK.
AVUK is the only UK charity offering a specialist parent-centred, Auditory Verbal programme aimed at helping pre-school aged deaf children to learn to listen and speak and now Mia’s Mum Claire is taking on the London Landmarks Marathon to not only raise funds for the charity but also awareness of what deaf children can achieve.
In this Deaf Awareness Week Claire said: “Mia’s early years were very challenging; managing her medical needs, constant trips to hospital and getting the therapy and support she needed in place. AVUK were a lifeline and supported us through those difficult times.”
“We started attending sessions with them just before Mia’s 2nd birthday and they have been amazing. They helped us understand the importance of early intervention. They have never underestimated Mia’s abilities. They have worked with Mia’s multi-sensory impairment and adapted her therapy to take into account her vision, hearing and balance difficulties.”
Mia has Charge syndrome a rare genetic condition which affects different parts and functions of the body, most commonly sight and hearing. Claire also works full time, runs a business with her husband and like many other parents has been juggling the demands of life in lockdown before the schools reopened.
Now, to add to this, she has taken on the challenge of the iconic London Landmarks Half Marathon due to take place through the capital in August 2021 and raise money for AVUK to help other deaf babies and children.
“Every deaf child should have the opportunity to access to the kind of help that Mia has had from Auditory Verbal UK and if I can raise enough money for one or two to at least have an initial assessment that will be worth it.”
The AVUK programme has specialist Auditory Verbal therapists who equip parents with the skills and strategies to develop their child’s listening and talking skills through play based activities.
The charity works with families across the UK and has bases in London and Oxfordshire and has continued to work with families and deaf children online during the pandemic.
AVUK Chief Executive Anita Grover said: “Four out of five children who spend two or more years on our programme achieve the same spoken language outcomes as typically hearing children. Most achieve this by the time they start school. But far too many families are unable to access such support and our ambition is for all families of deaf children who want their child to learn to listen and talk to be able to access an auditory verbal programme close to where they live. With 7,200 deaf children under the age of five, we are calling on the Government to make the necessary investment in the training of 300 specialist therapists across the UK, giving many more children an equal start at school.”