Insurance broker Brightside has partnered with charity Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK) to support more deaf children to have the same opportunities in life as their hearing peers.
AVUK is the only charity in the UK offering Auditory Verbal therapy – a highly specialised family centred programme which helps deaf babies and children learn to listen and speak. The partnership, which launched this week to mark World Hearing Day on March 3rd, will help support more deaf children and give them an equal start in life.
Top 30 UK insurance broker, Brightside Insurance was acquired by Markerstudy Group in March 2021. It offers motor, home, life and business cover and is based in Bristol. Customers buying a policy with Brightside will now have the option to add a £1, £5 or £10 charity donation to AVUK.
AVUK Chief Executive Anita Grover said: “We are delighted to announce this partnership with Brightside, which will help us in our mission to enable deaf children to have the same opportunities as hearing children. There are 7,200 deaf children under five in the UK who currently face the possibility of lower academic achievement and employment prospects and who are at higher risk of poor mental health, bullying and social exclusion. But it doesn’t have to be this way. When children and families have access to effective, early support, deaf children can get an equal start at school and opportunities are transformed.”
The ambition is for every one of these 7,200 children to have the opportunity to access an Auditory Verbal therapy programme close to their home, free of charge if they want their child to learn to listen and talk. Four out of five children who attend the AVUK play based family-centred approach achieve age-appropriate spoken language and many attend mainstream school. But many children do not have the opportunity to access Auditory Verbal therapy and many people do not know that it is possible for a deaf child to learn to talk as well as a hearing child.
Ross Barrington, Managing Director, Markerstudy Broking, said: “We’re extremely proud to be partnering with AVUK and helping to raise awareness of the incredible work they do.”
AVUK has bases in London and Oxfordshire and supports UK families from both sites as well as remotely. Specially trained Auditory Verbal therapists use play-based parent coaching techniques to enable families to turn everyday activities into ways to improve their child’s communication skills and maximise hearing technology such as cochlear implants and hearing aids.
AVUK has never received any direct Government funding and relies on the generosity of trusts, foundations, individuals as well as partnerships like this one with Brightside. To ensure that income is not a barrier to deaf babies and children receiving support, the AVUK bursary scheme enables families on low incomes to access the Auditory Verbal UK programme. A year of Auditory Verbal therapy costs £6,825.
For more information about Auditory Verbal UK, visit www.avuk.org.