Alex's mum, Fulham

When my son Alex was 2 ½ years old he wasn’t talking. I asked a doctor to check his ears and he said they were fine and not to worry as many children, especially boys can be late talkers.

At 3 ½ years old, he babbled in his own language. You could make out the odd word but with difficulty. As a result he was hugely frustrated that we couldn’t understand him. I had his ears checked at a clinic and they told me his hearing was fine. At four years old there was very mild improvement in his speech and another hearing test suggested his hearing was fine. Now I was beginning to worry.

Alex started school at 4 ½ year old; he found it very hard to communicate with other children in his class and his teacher said his concentration was very bad and he could get easily frustrated and angry. This time I badgered my GP and she arranged a hearing test with an Ear Specialist at our local hospital. The Ear Specialist soon discovered that Alex’s right ear nerve was dead with limited hearing in his left ear. This was terrible news for us but at least we could now understand the problem and start to deal with it.

His hearing in his left ear has improved slowly over time but progress at school as a result of his deafness was very slow.

One afternoon last November I was flicking through the Primary Times magazine as I sat in the school reception and I came across an article about Raviv Practice London helping children with learning difficulties including Auditory processing Disorder.

I had never heard of this before but it sounded like something Alex might have so I contacted Usha immediately. Usha met Alex and suggested he start the Fast ForWord programme as this is an excellent way of mapping all the sounds in his brain that he had missed in baby/toddlerhood which are the building bricks of language.

Initially Alex found the programme challenging but he has always thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt he could sense the improvement in himself which added to his enthusiasm for the programme. The improvement began to really show after 3 months of work and since then it has been very obvious. Alex has almost finished the programme now and I had a Parents Meeting at his school last week. His teacher was delighted with his progress. He has gone from being at the bottom of his class in Reception, Year 1 and 2 to the middle group this year in reading and spelling! Maths is still a struggle but we are working on this. His confidence has also zoomed; he wants to read everything, learn everything and can’t stop talking – and we all understand what he’s saying. I can sometimes still spot the odd grammatical error but most people don’t!

It has been an amazing journey.

Andrew Moore