Home   Gravesend   News   Article

Deaf Awareness Week: Deaf student from Meopham to speak at House of Commons after scooping top literary prize

A profoundly deaf boy will get the chance to perform a story at the House of Commons after impressing judges with his creative writing talents.

Callum Herholdt, 5, from Meopham was selected as the winner of a literary competition run by the charity, Auditory Verbal UK (AVUK) for children with severe hearing difficulties.

Watch Callum tell his story about a Magical egg

It's Deaf Awareness Week (May 4 to 8) which aims to raise awareness and challenge perceptions of hearing loss and deafness across the UK.

Callum was diagnosed as deaf as a baby and was fitted with hearing aids at just two months old.

His hearing loss grew worse until at eight months old his parents came across AVUK at a deaf expo in Maidstone and signed him up for his first session.

Within a few months of working with therapists Callum was recognising sounds.

Fast forward to age five and the primary pupil is thriving in a mainstream school where his language skills are on par with his classmates.

Callum, 5, and sister Daniella can now have chats together
Callum, 5, and sister Daniella can now have chats together

Mum Ingrid said when they originally got the diagnosis they looked for every other possible reason.

She said: “When we learnt that Callum was deaf we didn’t want to believe it but working with AVUK gave us a lifeline.

“AVUK has helped us get the best for Callum and for us as a family that’s more than we could have wished for. It’s meant Callum having the opportunity to learn as any other child.”

Callum's winning story sees him recount the tale of a magical egg which crosses paths with a crocodile among other critters.

“He was so excited to write his story which we all loved hearing and we are over the moon he has been chosen as a winner," Ingrid added.

“It’s amazing to listen to Callum and his sister having a full-on conversation and now to hear he’s going to be reading his story in the House of Commons is unbelievable."

Callum will get the opportunity to speak at the House of Commons next year
Callum will get the opportunity to speak at the House of Commons next year

The Meopham pupil will now recite his story at the famous debating chamber in Westminster next June after this year's event was postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

AVUK supports children up until the age of five with their speech and language development.

The charity's chief executive Anita Grover said: “Many people are surprised to learn that profoundly deaf children can speak as well as their hearing peers."

She said deaf children such as Callum were "bucking a national trend of underachievement in literacy and their attainment levels".

The charity boss added competitions such as Power of Speech dispel the thinking that deaf children cannot learn to talk or write creatively.

"Their performances speak for themselves," she added. "We are looking forward to seeing him share his work in the House of Commons next year as well as publishing further research on the outcomes being achieved by children like Callum."

Read more: All the latest news from Gravesend

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More