20 May 2019

Scarlett has made sure she and her fellow Priory pupils were making plenty of noise about Deaf Awareness Week by fundraising and highlighting it.

Year 7 Scarlett was born deaf and, in 2009, was the first patient to be fitted with the thinnest ever cochlear implant at Manchester Children’s Hospital.

It was called a Nucleus 5 implant and, at the time at just 3.9mm wide, it was 40 per cent slimmer and two and a half times stronger than the previous generation device.

It meant Scarlett could hear for the first time and, due to her operation, she has become a part of the Cochlear Implanted Children’s Support Group (CICS).

They meet up at Alton Towers once a year and Scarlett wanted to raise funds for them and also raise awareness of deafness during last week’s Deaf Awareness Week.

“These implants changed my life,” said Scarlett. “I hadn’t talked and I communicated through sign language at first.  It was a case of I needed to talk and I had two operations aged two and four and now I can’t stop talking! I like it now. People think it’s amazing that I went from not hearing at all to hearing and talking normally so it has been massive for me but I just accept it.”

Scarlett, along with her learning support teacher, Mrs Willis, decided to do something on Deaf Awareness Week.

“A lot of people wanted to talk and ask questions of Scarlett about her deafness and implant and so this was a good way of doing it so we could talk about it openly and all at once,” said Mrs Willis.

“We baked cakes, with help from friends, and sold CICS wristbands and pens and pencils and raised almost £100. We want to make it an annual event.

“When Scarlett came to Priory she was quite timid but now her confidence has grown and events like this have really helped her.”

Scarlett admits she has to get her brother to wake her up in the morning as she takes her implants off overnight – and so doesn’t hear the alarm.

“That’s the only problem but we get around it,” smiled Scarlett. “I am glad to have raised money and awareness.

“I don’t mind people asking me about it - I do repeat myself a lot but I don’t mind.”