Kris Harvey
Kris HarveyChair
I am very proud to be the Chair of SDCS as I really value the service and support we are able to offer families. It gives me great pleasure to see parents chatting and making friends at our events, and I especially love to see the children engaging, laughing, and making their own friends.

My son is severe-profoundly deaf and wears hearing aids in both ears. He attended The Elizabeth Foundation pre-school in Portsmouth once a week while he was a baby, toddler and pre-schooler. He is now in a mainstream school that has a Hearing Impaired Specialist Centre attached. He absolutely loves being at school with other deaf children, but equally immersed in a class with all of his hearing friends too.

Charlotte Crutchington
Charlotte CrutchingtonVice Chair
I have 2 sons, Oliver, our eldest is profoundly deaf and uses cochlear implants. Oliver was diagnosed as profoundly deaf at 6 weeks old and fitted with his first hearing aids at 11 weeks. He began assessment by Great Ormond Street Hospital for cochlear implants at 9 months; tests showed that he was receiving little benefit from the hearing aids and was a suitable candidate for implants. He had his surgery at 13 months and was switched on 2 weeks later. He showed no response to switch on but made good progress with listening and some progress with making sounds in the short term but as time went on he made slower progress than expected until he went to school where he made rapid progress.

I have been on the committee since April 2012 and love working with the younger children and babies, especially arranging soft play events and events where the children can play while the adults chat! Seeing all ages together at our larger events is one of my favourite things about SDCS.

Gabi Stiles
Gabi StilesTreasurer
I am currently Treasurer but I have been on the committee for over ten years in various roles. I have three children and the oldest, Max is profoundly Deaf with bilateral cochlear implants. He is now happily at secondary school, at Mary Hare School and has made lots of friends through the SDCS over the years. My two daughters are both hearing but also enjoy coming to events.
HelenVice Treasurer
I’m Helen, proud mum to two deaf children – my daughter, who has a profound loss and has bilateral cochlear implants and a son who has a severe loss and wears bilateral hearing aids. Both very different – and challenging in different ways!!

As a family (both my husband and I are hearing) we always felt the kids should if possible, have both deaf and hearing friends and also wanted them to have deaf role models to look up to, so from pretty early on we joined ‘SDCS’. From that first family signing course we basically haven’t looked back!

We’ve all met life-long friends along the way and have stacks of happy memories from different events over the years. Having the support of friends with deaf children has been invaluable – for advice and support from friends who know exactly what you’re going through, without having to explain yourself is so refreshing (during tough times It’s been a life-line!)

Surrey Deaf has had such a positive effect on our family, I’m passionate about helping other families along the way like we were – I’m very proud to say I’m part of the SDCS committee – we’re a lovely bunch of mums dedicated to keeping children at the centre of everything we do.

Jennifer Loten
Jennifer LotenSecretary
We have twin boys one profoundly Deaf with bi-lateral cochlear implants and the other who is hearing. They were premature and remained in the neo-natal unit for six weeks and thankfully received the new born hearing screen test, the requirement for all new born babies.  This immediately flagged up that one of our boys failed the ABR (Auditory Brain Response) element of the test although he passed the otto-acoustic part of the test.

Despite being under Audiology we battled for two and half years and eventually got referred to St Georges’ Audiology where our son was finally diagnosed with a profound hearing loss in both ears with ANSD (Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum  Disorder). The ANSD was a significant factor in making his diagnosis difficult. He went straight into the cochlear implant assessment programme at St George’s hospital and a year later was successfully bi-laterally cochlear implanted.

As a result of this significant delay, we chose to follow an auditory aural approach, which would focus him on speaking and listening to the very best of his capabilities, bearing in mind such a significant delay.  Auditory Verbal UK, gave us the education, support, opportunity and above all encouragement to begin our journey.

Today our son is doing well and has made huge progress helped along by his twin brother who has been a significant influence and occasionally allows him to get a word in edge ways. On reflection we have had many challenges and positive opportunities. I am privileged to be an SDCS committee member and feel fortunate as a fellow parent to have met so many families, who I have learnt from and been inspired by to get involved.

Fonda and Mark Dakin
Fonda and Mark DakinCommittee Members
Our daughter, Rebecca, was diagnosed severely/profoundly deaf at 26 months old, visual impaired and speech disordered. She wore hearing aids until NICE Guidelines changed and Rebecca independently chose to have sequential cochlear implants at the age of 13-14 years.

Rebecca crossed boroughs to attend a mainstream junior school with a hearing impairment unit in Surrey. She now boards weekly at Mary Hare School.

Rebecca is now fully oral as a result of intensive auditory verbal therapy as a toddler with AVUK, and then Nuffield’s Speech Program at RNTNE during holidays, which collaborated with 5 sessions a week of SALT at primary school, and has ongoing SALT at Mary Hare.

In the last 13 years, we have made life-long friends, had lots of fun, attended loads of fantastic and memorable events, received tremendous support from sharing invaluable information and experience about the local education and NHS provisions, especially in every academic key stage change.

Friends come and go, particularly true with school changes, but Rebecca’s childhood friends from SDCS stay. There is a special bond and identity among these teenagers.

We are ever grateful for the support from SDCS. Why not contact us and come along to one of our events?

Lucy Freer
Lucy FreerCommittee Member
I’m proud to have joined the committee at the start of 2020. I have two children, my eldest, Teddy, is bilaterally moderate to severely deaf.

Teddy was diagnosed at 5 weeks old and had his first hearing aids at 8 weeks old. We had no history of deafness in the family, nor experience with friends so this was a whole new world for us. We luckily heard about Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK) and Teddy started fortnightly classes at 12 weeks old. AVUK were a lifeline to us in teaching Teddy to listen and hear and in turn teaching us how we could help him on his hearing journey. Teddy attends a mainstream school with a deaf unit and is thriving with his hearing and deaf peers.

Joining SDCS has been a hugely positive experience for us, talking to other families in similar situations and giving Teddy the chance to have deaf friends. I joined the committee, as I wanted to help organize events that could bring people together and help others as much as they’ve helped us.