BEST OF NORTHUMBERLAND: Child of Achievement

Best of Northumberland awards 2014 at Alnwick Garden'Paul Larkin with Kaitlyn Soden and Hearing Dog  Rowan.
Best of Northumberland awards 2014 at Alnwick Garden'Paul Larkin with Kaitlyn Soden and Hearing Dog Rowan.
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A youngster who has sensory problems, learning difficulties and is profoundly deaf but has attained life-changing achievements, was delighted to pick up the Child of Achievement award.

Ten-year-old Kaitlyn Soden, from Ellington, has auditory neuropathy and Reynaud’s Syndrome which has led to numerous problems, including deafness and co-ordination issues.

But over the past two years she has changed from a reserved and shy little girl who couldn’t swim and found it difficult to communicate, into a confident, bubbly and friendly girl who can now swim all four competitive strokes.

Last year, she received a hearing dog called Rowan who changed her life immensely. She took part in a sponsored swim with Ashington Swimming Club and raised more than £400 for Hearing Dogs, as well as helping to organise other fund-raising events to support more hearing dogs for children.

Kaitlyn said: “I’m really happy. I want to say thank-you to Kath, my swimming teacher, who has been absolutely amazing.”

Also nominated: Kiera Sheeba, who attends Cramlington Voluntary Youth Group and gives her time and support to engage young people from different backgrounds, and Adam Carnaffin, who is autistic yet proved himself a hero when he made a potentially life-saving 999 call when his mum suffered an epileptic fit.