An Oxfordshire-based charity dedicated to assisting deaf children gain equal opportunities as their hearing peers is calling for greater investment after receiving a national award.

Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK), the only UK-wide charity supporting deaf children, was presented with The Children and Young People Now Early Years Award on November 23 at a ceremony in London.

The charity is based in the village of Chesterton near Bicester

The award received lauds initiatives that have significantly improved the life of children under five, especially in disadvantaged or hard-to-reach areas.

AVUK's approach involves providing parents and caregivers with the tools needed to aid the development of their deaf child's speech and language.

This is achieved through auditory verbal therapy, enabling deaf children to interpret the sounds conveyed through their hearing equipment and develop spoken language.

Avril Grimer, whose nine-year-old son Orson benefited from AVUK therapy, said: "Orson is now flourishing and enjoys all the things that his hearing friends do."

"He talks proudly about being deaf and how he can talk like his friends thanks to AVUK.

"Without the charity, this would not be possible and their support through the Auditory Verbal therapy programme and beyond has been truly life changing for the whole family."

The charity has stated 80 per cent of deaf children who spend at least two years on the programme graduate with age-appropriate spoken language skills.

However only 10 per cent of eligible deaf children in the UK have access.

AVUK is appealing for an increase in access to this specialist therapy.

AVUK's chief executive, Anita Grover, said: "We are delighted that the work and dedication of our team at AVUK supporting deaf babies and children across the UK to learn to listen and talk with Auditory Verbal therapy has been recognised.

"Through our family programme, we are proud to have supported more than 150 families with young deaf children in the last 12 months alone.

"But the story does not end here...there has never been a more important time for the government to invest in effective and early support to tackle the root cause of disadvantage."

AVUK say investing just above £2 million per year for the next decade in a Hear Us Now campaign would "transform" services for deaf children while unlocking economic benefits of £152 million in the next decade, and a projected £11.7 billion over 50 years.

However, despite the availability of early hearing loss diagnosis and hearing tech such as hearing aids and cochlear implants via NHS, without access to early support, deaf children still face a lifetime of disadvantage.