The end of an era…..perhaps

Hello all.

It has been a dreadfully long time since we last posted here. Life is very busy these days; three children at School and a business to run. I don’t flatter myself that people wait for the latest update on Alice and Ollie but I have felt something of a sense of duty to continue their stories.

I have often wondered when I would stop. I always said it would be at the point Alice caught-up with her hearing peers and, bar the daily charging of batteries and a few other small concessions, her hearing troubles needed no longer be something we talked about. That plan came and went with Ollie… Ollie is, of course, another story but he is ploughing along and never stops talking. Am I bad for wishing he would shut up sometimes?

Lots has happened in the past six months, or so, since we last updated the blog. Alice and Ollie have gone from strength to strength, the sky really is the limit for both of them. They have been the stars of a short film made for a charitable foundation – The October Club – whose support of Auditory Verbal UK has been and will be game-changing in allowing hundreds, if not thousands, more children to access AVT in the UK.

Our Facebook Group has nearly 600 members now from all over the world; a superb community of people who come and go often joining in a time of confusion and despair and then disappearing again as their little-ones take positive steps and life returns to ‘normal’.

And that, my friends from all four corners of the globe, is the crux of it. What is normal; what does it even mean? I have to admit that when we started this adventure all we wanted was for Alice to be ‘normal’ whatever that was. But, of course, Alice is just Alice, the same as Ollie is just Ollie. My beautiful, remarkable, children who fill me with pride and despair all day every day. Perfect children one and all.

Alice’s hearing loss never has and never will define her; doubtless Ollie will follow suit.

So where does that leave us?

Telling the story of two remarkable children who deal with the trials of every day life with the same vim and vigour as every other child. They sing, dance, laugh, cry, shout, scream and bring joy to everyone they meet. You’ll not find a prouder dad than me.

We never set out to offer advice on navigating the crazy world of ANSD. The world is vastly different to the one we joined nearly seven years ago. There is much more information at hand and technology continues to make the world a smaller place. We chose a path for our children and, even through the toughest of moments, our unerring faith that we were doing the right thing helped us get through. What was right for us and what has worked for our children may not be for everyone. We have always valued every different decision that parents make for their babies. All I can say is that Alice and Ollie are proof that there is a bright light at the end of, what can be, a very dark tunnel. It will always be alright in the end whatever the outcome.

Love your ANSD children with all your heart. Choose a path and give it everything you have got. Never take no for an answer and remember, when the chips are down, how much your little ones need you to be strong for them.

I wish you all the best of luck and do stay in touch.

I’m not sure there’s much more to say than that…..



One of the things us CI families have to come to terms with is, no matter how fantastically your child performs with their CI, the technology has limitations; after all, it is just technology. Remarkable as CIs are, the microphones, batteries and wires all have their own little bugs.

What we all have in common is that these limitations bring about predictable problems. One of these is vocabulary. CI children tend to be poorer at overhearing than other children. They don’t hear new words in context as well and hence their vocabulary can develop more slowly. Whilst a typical, hearing, child picks up new words from conversations they’re not even involved in, this can be more difficult for CI children. This isn’t a major problem. Alice’s language is above age appropriate; her use of language is fantastic (see how far we have come in four short years!) but she may not have a full Eskimo vocabulary of words for snow or understand colloquialisms as well as her friends. It’s a small problem, but one we are acutely aware of and we spend hours shoving new words her way. Reading has made a huge difference in this respect.

Alice swore for the first time today. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

She had overheard me shouting at a particularly noisy toy of Ollie’s (which was driving me particularly mad yesterday morning) and decided to demonstrate her new-found knowledge of expletives to the world. Hallelujah.

Every step is hard-fought, but every win feels oh so very special.

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy a little video of Alice reading; we couldn’t be more proud of how far she has come and how well she is doing at school. For any families just starting on this journey, your dreams for your children are still possible and, just to warn you, they will swear too…


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