Read Alicia's story
"I am Alicia Craven and I was born in February 2001, with sensorineural deafness in both ears. My older brother has a profound loss in one ear and a mild loss in the other. When I was still a baby, I tried using hearing aids but never managed to get them to work successfully for me.
"As soon as my parents were introduced to the idea of a cochlear implant they were keen for it to happen quickly and I was implanted in my right ear at 17 months old. At the time I was one of the youngest children to be implanted. I attended The Elizabeth Foundation from nine months old and it became an extremely important part of our lives. My mother and I have made friends that we will have forever and the support network has benefited her as much as me over the years.
"After the Foundation I started at a local infant school but unfortunately I was not able to repeat a school year there so I transferred to an Independent girl’s school where I have been since Year 3. This is hard for any young girl growing up but being deaf did mean that I had to work much harder to develop friendships and to keep up with my studies.
"I have been fortunate to have had amazing Teaching Assistants over the years and this helped me massively during my GCSEs last year. I was delighted on results day to see that I had passed all of them, with better grades than had been predicted. I am currently in my first year of Sixth Form studying Business Studies, Photography and ICT.
"I have recently turned 18 and am looking forward to leaving school next year and attending Film School in London. I love photography and filmmaking and it was a relief when I eventually found something that excited me and that I got! All those hours of watching classic movies has paid off!
"I love travelling and do not let my deafness stop me from trying anything I want to do – especially snorkelling and other water sports. My dream career is to travel the world capturing its uniqueness and beauty on film. I know that the only person who can make this dream come true is me and, although being implanted will bring extra challenges, there are no reasons why I cannot make this happen.
"My speech is clear and unless I tell people they do not know I am deaf. I decided early on not to have a second implant, however being implanted at a young age was the best decision my parents have ever made for me. The support of The Elizabeth Foundation helped us through that process and we will always be extremely thankful for that."
"I attended The Elizabeth Foundation from nine months old and it became an extremely important part of our lives..."