Bathwick Primary School get loud to give deaf children an equal start at school

The pupils of Bathwick St Mary’s Primary School in Bath will be dressing in their loudest clothes on Thursday 15th June 2017 to help give deaf children the same opportunities as their hearing peers.

Bathwick will be joining many other schools, workplaces, celebrities and community groups across the UK who are all taking part in Loud Shirt Day for national charity Auditory Verbal UK.

Auditory Verbal UK works with pre-school deaf children to help them develop their listening and spoken language skills so that they can start school with the same communication skills as their typically hearing peers.

Unfortunately, in the UK today only 33% of deaf children achieve a good level of development in the Early Years’ Foundation Stage. This really should not be the case.

At Auditory Verbal UK, 80% of children who spend at least two years on the early intervention programme achieve age-appropriate language and most attend mainstream schools. Those taking part in Loud Shirt Day are helping to make this a reality for more deaf children in the UK.

Twin brothers, Zack and Dylan, from Bath, were born with a profound hearing loss to Italian parents who had previously had no experience of deafness. Their mother Deborah explains:

“The day we learnt about Zack and Dylan’s hearing loss, we were shocked. We could not believe why this could have happened to us. Being an Italian family living abroad, we also questioned whether Zack and Dylan would be able to learn more than one language. We were concerned that exposing them to two languages would be too much for them and put them under unnecessary pressure.”

Luckily, Zack and Dylan’s hearing loss straight away after birth and so they received hearing aids at only a few weeks old, and cochlear implants when they were six months old. They also began a programme of Auditory Verbal therapy to teach them to understand the sound they were receiving through their hearing technology.

Now, at age five, the twins speak fluently in English and Italian and are doing well at Bathwick St Mary’s Primary School, a mainstream school. Deborah added:

“Auditory Verbal therapy at Auditory Verbal UK helped me to understand there are no limits for kids with cochlear implants, and no limits for bilingual cochlear implanted children either.”

Join Zack, Dylan and the pupils and teachers at Bathwick St Mary’s Primary School in taking part in Loud Shirt Day this week. Head to www.avuk.org/loud-shirt-day-uk or join in the conversation on social media using the tag #loudshirtday