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Deaf teenager Beatrice finds her voice at Commons event

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Beatrice Cadman
Beatrice Cadman

A deaf schoolgirl from Stamford hosted an event at the House of Commons on Tuesday organised by the charity that taught her to speak.

Beatrice Cadman, 14, compered the Power of Speech, which is held bi-annually by Auditory Verbal UK to challenge perceptions of what deaf children can achieve and showcase the communication skills of young people who have graduated from its early intervention programme.

In front of an audience of more than 100 MPs and professionals working in the deaf sector, Beatrice was responsible for welcoming guests and introducing eight other deaf children on to the stage to give speeches on their favourite topics.

She was chosen for the role after taking part as a speaker at the last Power of Speech event two years ago.

Beatrice said: “I was excited and proud to be a part of the Power of Speech. I was a little bit nervous but most of all happy to be there and help more people understand why Auditory Verbal therapy is so important.

“It has changed my life and meant that being deaf does not stop me from doing the same things as my friends.”

Beatrice was born profoundly deaf and her hearing loss was identified by the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme.

When Beatrice was 18 months old, she started the programme at Auditory Verbal UK with her parents. Beatrice soon began to speak and graduated from Auditory Verbal UK when she was five years old.

She attends mainstream school and has aspirations to become a midwife.

Auditory Verbal therapy concentrates on developing spoken language through listening. By getting sound to the brain through cochlear implants or hearing aids, the approach helps the child’s brain to develop listening rather than relying solely or partly on visual cues.

The Power of Speech event was used to announce the results of research paper ‘Raising the bar for deaf children with additional needs: A study of spoken language outcomes for children attending Auditory Verbal UK from 2007-2017’, which analysed the progress of 129 children who spent two years or more on the charity’s programme.

The study showed 97 per cent of deaf children with no additional needs achieved spoken language skills on a par with hearing children their age, as did half of children with additional needs. It is Auditory Verbal UK’s strongest evidence yet that spoken language is a realistic goal for deaf children – including those with additional needs.

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