The belief that all deaf children should have the same opportunities in life as their hearing peers is inspiring two new trustees who have joined the board at charity Auditory Verbal UK.
Specialist programme manager Vinay Purwaha and strategy professional Milly Ehren took their seats on the board for their first meeting in October inspired by personal and professional connections with the charity. Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK) is the only charity in the country offering the specialist family-centred auditory verbal speech and language programme helping pre-school children learn to listen and speak.
Vinay is a father of two children – both were diagnosed with a hearing loss at their newborn hearing screenings and attend the AVUK programme. He said: “I have seen with my own children the aspirations of AVUK to provide children with hearing loss the opportunity to lead enriched lives and it inspired me to want to take a bigger role with the charity and its plans for the future.”
AVUK wants every one of the 7,200 deaf children under five in the UK to have the opportunity to access an auditory verbal therapy programme near where they live. To achieve this there needs to be investment of £21.5m over 10 years to help train 300 auditory verbal therapists and transform services for children who are deaf. This investment will deliver £152m of economic benefit over 10 years.
Milly currently works at the City of London Corporation as Strategic Project Lead for Bridge House Estates and will act as AVUK Board lead for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and will support AVUK to further develop and implement its DEI policies and plans.
She said: “I have lived with a Crohn’s disease for seven years which is a chronic invisible illness. Combining my personal experiences and professional skills will help me support the vision of the charity to support deaf children and their families in helping these children learn to listen and talk and achieve their potential.”
AVUK Board Chair Jane Barry said: “We are delighted to welcome Vinay and Milly to the board. They both bring individual skills which will help the charity realise its strategic ambition to ensure all 7,200 deaf children under the age of five have the opportunity to access an auditory verbal therapy programme close to their home. These children currently face the prospect of lower academic achievement, lower employment, and are at higher risk of poor mental health, bullying and social exclusion. It doesn’t have to be this way with access to early support.”
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.