A deaf Barnet teenager highlighted the urgent need for investment to ensure all deaf children can reach their potential during a speech in the House of Commons.

Lauren Press, who has profound impairment which is one of the most severe levels of deafness, was among six young people victorious in a writing competition who were given the opportunity to address MPs.

The Power of Speech event on June 14 was hosted by Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK), which has a vision for all deaf children to have the same opportunities in life as their hearing peers.

After her talk in the Commons, Lauren, 16, said: “It was a real privilege to speak at the House of Commons to support AVUK and all the wonderful work they do. All the children were fantastic and inspiring, and I hope that collectively we have raised awareness about the importance of early educational intervention for deaf and hard of hearing children."

Mum Jacqui, who is also deaf, added: “It was a truly incredible day. Lauren is now 16, she graduated AVUK when she was five. It was incredibly moving to watch Lauren be so in proud of the younger graduates as she herself went through similar experiences.

"As parents of an older child we found it encouraging to see how much AVUK has continued to support and keep up their amazing work of the therapists to ensure the families and the incredible deaf children continue to maximise their abilities in the most amazing ways."

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Chief executive of the AVUK charity, Anita Grover, said: “Our amazing event celebrated what deaf children can achieve and why it is so important that families are able to access timely and effective support in the critical first few years of their child’s lives.

"Far too many deaf children are underachieving at school, have poorer employment prospects and are at higher risk of poor mental health, bullying and social exclusion. And that really should not be the case. When children have access to effect and early support, opportunities in life are transformed.”