Seven-year-old Eve to take part in a ‘chop for charity’ for Speech and Language UK

May 18, 2022

Eve Crawford from Hartley, Plymouth is to cut her locks off in aid of her brother, Jonah, and Speech and Language UK (previously known as I CAN) the children’s communication charity. She is booked in for the big chop on Thursday 19th May, shortly before she turns eight year old!

La, Eve and Jonah’s mum, explains below why Eve is fundraising for Speech and Language UK.

“My daughter Eve is having her hair cut off to just below her ears in a sponsored haircut to raise money for Speech and Language UK, an amazing charity that had such an impact on Jonah, her brother’s life.

When Jonah was about 10 months old, I first started to notice that he didn’t have any baby sounds – like dada or mama etc. This didn’t seem too unusual for a young baby, but by the time he was 18 months old he still couldn’t make any noises and could only communicate by laughing, crying, or screaming. Compared to other babies, I noticed he seemed quite dramatically less developed in his verbal communication. He was obviously a smart baby, when asked he could point to certain animals in books and he could recognise family members, but he couldn’t babble and certainly hadn’t said his first word yet.

I sought advice from a health visitor. As I was a first time mum, she assured me that everything was normal and suggested I sing songs to him and read him books – all things I was of course already doing. She said they would not assess him until after he turned two years old. I even sought help from my GP who told me he was probably just a ‘lazy baby’. He advised I put his favourite toy – a police car – on a high shelf and said he would be saying ‘car’ in no time to get access to the toy. But of course, Jonah couldn’t say ‘car’ and it only caused him to cry and scream.

After his second birthday he was assessed for his standard review. I again raised my concerns – Jonah was a healthy, boisterous two year old now who was clearly intelligent, but he still couldn’t talk at all. Again, I was told there was nothing to worry about and I was being an over-cautious mother. However, the health visitor called me the next day and said she had discussed Jonah with her colleagues, and she then directed me to attend a local mother and baby group for children with special needs. 

At this group Jonah and I met an incredible woman called Molly. She sat and played with Jonah and after an hour took me to one side and told me she believed he had a speech and communication delay. She told me about Speech and Language UK and the specialist school here in Plymouth. The school only had a few places for the entire area, and we would have to go through an application process and several assessments, but Molly encouraged me and supported me every step of the way. After an assessment a few months before he turned three, Jonah was awarded a place. He started the day after his 3rd birthday.

Speech and Language UK worked tirelessly, 5 mornings a week for a year and a half. Teachers, speech and language therapists, teaching assistants, psychologists and more all worked with him in a safe, fun learning environment. Jonah loved his time at the Speech and Language UK school and went from being totally non-verbal to having the language and speech necessary for him to start primary school in a mainstream setting. 

He is 14 now and was diagnosed with autism when he was six. Although there are some areas he struggles with his communication skills are generally excellent. He is a confident, intelligent, and happy teenager. He has two younger sisters, the eldest of which, Eve, has beautiful long hair.

I hope Eve’s fundraising will help benefit more children like Jonah who have communication difficulties. As well as supporting Speech and Language UK, Eve’s hair will be donated to the Little Princess Trust a charity for children with hair loss.  We are all very proud of her.”

‘It’s nice knowing it will make someone else happy. The charity helped Jonah and there’s other people who have trouble communicating so I’d like to help them." - Eve

Speaking about Eve’s fundraising efforts, Jane Harris, Chief Executive of Speech and Language UK said:

“It is a truly remarkable feat that Eve is undertaking in aid of Speech and Language UK. And all before she reaches the age of eight years old! As many as 1.5 million children are at risk of not being able to speak or understand language at an age-appropriate level because of the pandemic and all the lock downs. We are incredibly grateful to Eve for her support so that children’s voices are heard.”   

To sponsor Eve, please click here to visit her fundraising page.

For at least 1.9 million children in the UK, learning to talk and understand words feels like an impossible hurdle.  So we give children and young people the skills they need so they aren’t left behind, waiting to be understood. But we cannot do this alone. Visit our Get involved page to find out more.