Auditory Verbal UK is an award-winning charity which helps deaf babies and young children to learn to listen and speak. Our vision is that all deaf babies and young children have the same opportunities in life as their hearing peers. At the heart of our approach is increasing access to a specialist programme called, Auditory Verbal therapy (AVT) which equips parents with the skills and strategies to develop their child’s listening, talking, thinking and social skills.
80% of children who spend at least two years on our programme achieve the same language outcomes as their hearing peers. For those children with no additional needs, this goes up to 97%. Most go to mainstream schools.
Our aim is that more families are able to access specialist support in the critical first few years of their child’s life. Less than 10% of the 7,200 newly diagnosed deaf babies and children have any access to Auditory Verbal Therapy and there are just 25 specialist therapists in the UK.
We aim to ensure that every deaf baby and child can access AVT close to where they live by training at least 300 existing health and education professionals working in the NHS and local authorities through our internationally accredited training programme over the next 10-15 years. This will enable all families who want their child to learn to listen and speak to have the opportunity to do so.
We also provide internationally accredited training for health and education professionals across the Europe, Middle East and South Africa. We have centres in London and Oxfordshire, and successfully supported families and professionals remotely throughout in response to COVID-19.
The Syncona Foundation are our largest provider of unrestricted funding. Their generous support has helped us to move forward with all of our key projects this year, including;
- Bursary support for families on low incomes – ensuring access for every deaf child no matter what their social or financial situation. At least 50% of our beneficiaries claim a bursary at any one time.
- Providing bursaries for audiologists, teachers of the deaf and speech and language therapists who want to train with us to become qualified auditory verbal therapists themselves and improve outcomes for deaf children that they work with.
- Successfully switching our service delivery online during the COVID-19 pandemic – allowed us to continue to see families who rely on our services and ensured continuity of delivery during that difficult period in time
- Increasing the amount of online courses we are able to deliver to health and education professionals during the pandemic and allowing us to reach over 700 new people who would otherwise not have been able to access our expertise.
Syncona’s support during lockdown was especially welcome as it allowed us to significantly grow our online presence and to continue to support the children and their families from all across the UK when they needed us the most.
"I believe that AVUK’s aspirational and personalised approach can literally be life changing for deaf children and their families and would like to see Auditory Verbal Therapy become widely available across the UK, as it is in many other countries around the world."
Tanya Saunders, mother of AVUK graduate, Onna
"I have been training with AVUK for three years now, and my experience has been great. The training team was very understanding and accepting of my different background, and AVUK individualized and accommodated to my abilities, background, and cases. The program is designed in a way that supports professional development based on each therapist’s abilities and skills, while offering generous amounts of resources, references, information, and professional guidance."