A 15-year-old deaf Chilterns girl performed to the full House of Commons after she won a top writing competition prize.

Ava Pearson from Little Missenden near Amersham was one of the six young people to impress MPs and judges with their story telling talent in the writing competition organised by Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK).

The competition, Power of Speech held on June 14, follows AVUK’s goal for all deaf children to have the same opportunities in life as their hearing peers.

Deaf children’s opportunities are shaped by having access to support in the critical early years of their lives. Some children learn British Sign Language, some learn to talk or do both.

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Ava’s prize was to get to perform her winning piece in the Commons at the event, which also launched AVUK’s new research on literacy outcomes being achieved by deaf children following a specialist, family-centred Auditory Verbal programme.

Ava said: “I'm so incredibly grateful for everything AVUK has done for me and it was my pleasure to talk to everyone at Power of Speech. I had a great time talking to everyone and hope to do more for AVUK in the future.”

After her diagnosis with hearing loss as a baby and receiving cochlear implants in two operations, at nine months and then 14 months, Ava was referred to AVUK and began speaking when she was 11-months-old.

Bucks Free Press: AVUK is the only UK charity supporting deaf babies and children to learn to speak with their specialist programme (Credit: AVUK)AVUK is the only UK charity supporting deaf babies and children to learn to speak with their specialist programme (Credit: AVUK)

The five other children and Ava took to the stage, and challenged the public perceptions that deaf children cannot speak as well as hearing children.

The event celebrated the achievements of deaf children, and why it is so important that families are able to access timely and effective support in the critical first few years of their child’s lives, Anita Grover, AVUK chief executive, said.

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She said: “Far too many deaf children are underachieving at school, have poorer employment prospects and are at higher risk of poor mental health, bullying and social exclusion.

"And that really should not be the case. When children have access to effect and early support, opportunities in life are transformed.”

Figures collected by YouGov for AVUK show more than 35 percent of adults have no idea that a child born profoundly deaf can learn to speak as well as a hearing child. More than 27 percent believe a child born profoundly deaf cannot learn to speak as well as a hearing child.

Ava’s parents Lauren and Chris Pearson explained what seeing their daughter on stage felt like: “It was simply amazing to be a part of the Power of Speech event, and to hear our daughter describe in her own words why every child with hearing loss deserves the confidence that AVUK has given her. 

“We feel immensely proud and very lucky to be a part of the AVUK community, and we are so grateful to the wonderful professionals there working tirelessly to make sure all children have access to the therapy that, for Ava, has been nothing short of miraculous.”