Mum calls for more investment in therapy for the deaf

A devoted mum is calling for urgent investment to help the same kind of life-changing therapy which has helped her deaf daughter listen and talk become more widely available.

Nicole Gilfillan is backing calls to increase access to auditory verbal therapy, so all families with deaf children have opportunities to access it.

Her three-year-old daughter Maci was born deaf, but is now learning to listen and talk with the therapy thanks to the charity Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK).

It comes as a YouGov poll showed only 41 per cent of adults in Scotland believe a child born profoundly deaf can learn to speak as well as a hearing child.

Over 90 per cent of deaf children who could benefit from the therapy are currently unable to access it.

The calls have come as young deaf people met MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.

They were demanding an end to “postcode lottery” of access to auditory verbal therapy.

Ms Gilfillan told how the family felt after Maci was born profoundly deaf.

“We were shocked and upset and had a 12-hour trip on the ferry with no internet access and just our thoughts to absorb the news,” she said.

“I just remember there being lots of words I had no idea what that meant, and we just felt very isolated.”

Maci received her cochlear implants at 14-months old.

“Even as a baby we could see that Maci was getting very frustrated at not having the means to communicate.

“I first heard about auditory verbal therapy on an online forum for parents, and it sounded perfect for us.

“After our initial meeting with AVUK we just knew this was the way we should go and we have never looked back.

“For us living in Shetland, where access to any sort of support and resources is completely limited, the support from AVUK has been amazing – they have been a true constant in our lives and we will be forever grateful.

“Maci is sociable and outgoing and quite headstrong. We can’t wait to see her carry on developing her speech and her personality.

“Seeing her doing so well and knowing that auditory verbal therapy is only available to a small number of deaf babies is why we are calling for more government investment, so more deaf children like Maci have the same opportunities as hearing children.”


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