April 2020 Charity Today News
Enabling all deaf children to maximise their communication potential and the positive effect that this will have on society as a whole is one clear ambition of the new Chair of Trustees of Auditory Verbal UK. Jane Barry has spent over two decades within the civil service and has two teenage children, one who has moderate permanent hearing loss. Auditory VerbalUK offers a transformational, early intervention parent coaching programme which is enabling deaf children to listen and speak and ultimately have the same opportunities as hearing children. It was a meeting with AVUK Chief Executive Anita Grover, who is profoundly deaf and wears a cochlear implant, which filled Jane with admiration for the work being done by the charity and ultimately led to her new voluntary role which she took up in March.
She explained: “Meeting Anita and seeing the way that AVUK support can transform family aspirations for their children filled me with inspiration. The entire charity is energised and working towards the ultimate goal that every deaf child should have the opportunity to access an Auditory Verbal therapy programme. Even in my short time, I can see that the work being done to enable the children to listen and speak is not confined to them but benefits the families, the nucleus around the child and the community surrounding them. I was very impressed by the outcomes being achieved by families on the AVUK programme – 4 out of 5 children who spend two or more years on the programme in their pre-school years achieving the same spoken language as their hearing peers. Most are in mainstream schools. Investment in children, whether deaf or not, is an investment in the future of society. Although AVUK has a very specific focus its work can have a massive impact on all strata of society.”
Jane’s day job on secondment to the Metropolitan Police as Director of Change focusses on ensuring cross-UK capabilities are ready for the challenges ahead and planning for change. Her new role within Auditory Verbal UK will maximise these skills as the charity continues to champion the importance of Auditory Verbal therapy as a choice for deaf children. Two key factors are training more Auditory Verbal therapists working within the NHS and Local Authority sensory services through the charity’s internationally accredited training programme and providing access to support for families now so that their children do not miss out on the critical window for developing listening and spoken language in the critical first few years of their lives.
AVUK Chief Executive Anita Grover said: “I am delighted that Jane has been appointed as Chair of the AVUK Board. She brings a wealth of professional and personal experience that will be invaluable in helping AVUK to create a sound future for deaf children. She joins a strong team of Trustees, including her predecessor Claire Campbell, who has steered the Board since 2013 drawing on her experience as a parent of two profoundly deaf children who learnt to listen and talk with the support of the AVUK programme. All of the Board and the AVUK team are extremely grateful for all the support, time and insight that Claire has brought to the Board.”