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Deaf 7-year-old on mission to challenge perceptions

Words by Smiley Team

Seven-year-old Orson Grimer wants other deaf children to have the same opportunities as him and alongside his family launched #LoudShirtDay – the annual fundraising event for Auditory Verbal UK, the charity which supported Orson to learn to listen and speak.

Loud Shirt Day will take place with a wave of colour across the country on 22 October 2021 and it challenges families, businesses and individuals to get "loud" and create a sound future for deaf children.

Orson, from Aldbury, Hertfordshire, has been selected as the 2021 Loud Shirt Day Ambassador after completing a range of challenges with his family and school raising more than £10,000 for the event last year. With inspiration from Orson the aim is to raise even more money this year and support more deaf babies learn to listen and speak.

[Discover more inspirational fundraising stories here]

Last year, Orson was joined by his younger sister Mei, Mum, Dad and Grandad who took on a week of challenges for Loud Shirt Day. Focusing on the number 6,825, which is the annual cost of the AVUK programme...

:: Orson cycled for 6,825 seconds - an hour and 53 mins - over six days; remembered as many six and eight timetables in 68 seconds; wrote a story that included the number six and eight, read eight chapters of a book and stood on one foot for 68 seconds.

:: Mei scootered for 6,825 seconds over six days, completed six puzzles over six days, told her family a six-page story and recognised six letters and numbers each day.

:: Dad Martin did six HIIT classes over six days, 68 press ups a day and drew eight caricatures. 

:: Avril walked 6,825 steps every day; ran for 6,825 seconds over six days and held a plank for 68 seconds every day.

:: Grandad John also ran for 6,825 seconds over six days.

[Read more positive stories from Smiley News here]

The impact of the charity

Auditory Verbal UK's family-centred, early intervention programme helps deaf babies and young children to learn to listen and talk. The charity continued to provide its specialised programme throughout the pandemic moving all of its services to online and digital platforms.

As the UK continues to open up AVUK is moving to a combination of face-to-face sessions at its London and Oxfordshire centres and online sessions to ensure that families already on its programme can still access vital support and new families don’t delay in helping their deaf children on the journey to listening and speaking on a par with hearing peers.

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.

Supporting Orson throughout his life

Orson was fitted with hearing aids at 18-months-old and after finding out about Auditory Verbal UK Orson started sessions with the Bermondsey based charity when he was two year’s old and graduated two and a half years later a year ahead on the Preschool Language Scales assessment.

Mum Avril explained: “For a young boy who cannot hear the sound of a bike bell, birds singing and the doorbell ringing without his hearing aids it was an incredible achievement.

“We wanted Orson to be a kind and confident boy, who has the resilience to overcome set-backs, who understands his hearing loss and is able to communicate his needs to his friends, teachers and family. Most importantly we wanted to equip him with the skills and knowledge that he can achieve whatever he wants in life as his hearing loss will never hold him back.”

You can sign up to take part in #LoudShirtDay now – let your imagination go wild getting LOUD to create a sound future for deaf children. Individuals, sports teams, businesses, schools even pets can get involved. Find out more here

Find out more details on how to fundraise for the charity and support it here. 

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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