I had the pleasure of meeting six-year-old Zavier Hunt and I was instantly struck by his piercing blue eyes and cheerful nature.
Like any other boy his age, he is full of energy, and I was fascinated to see him carefully watch his mum Katie Raworth as she communicated to him with sign language.
Zavier, who attends Whitefriars Church of England Primary Academy in King’s Lynn, was born profoundly deaf, diagnosed when he was five weeks old.
“It isn’t genetic, we don’t know why Zavier was born deaf. But that’s life. He’s done well at Whitefriars and he’s a healthy boy,” said Katie.
Despite her best efforts to keep Zavier in a mainstream school, Katie feels it’s now the time for her son to attend a deaf school.
However, the specialised school he will attend is two-and-a-half hours away, so the family will have to up-sticks and move from their Lynn home.
“It’s not ideal, as we will be moving away from our family, friends and our support network. But Doncaster has the provision for Zavier. And it will be nice for him to make friends his own age and not to have that constant interpretation,” Katie said, who is also mum to Alexis, 10, and Summer, 8.
After Zavier’s diagnosis, the family enlisted help from the Virtual School Sensory Support which taught Katie Level 2 in British Sign Language.
Katie has also looked into Zavier undergoing an operation to have a cochlear implant, an electronic hearing device which is surgically implanted.
But Katie said in Zavier’s case, the operation would be more complicated and therefore a higher risk.
“I don’t judge any parent who chooses for their child to have the operation. But for me, I feel it is Zavier’s choice, it’s his body. A lot of people don’t know there is a cochlear implant debate.”
But throughout her six-year journey with Zavier, one thing has become clear for Katie which she is keen to highlight.
She said: “There is such a divide between the hearing and the deaf. I think we should have sign language available in schools.
“I think society should be given the opportunity to see deafness is a beautiful culture. It is to be celebrated.”