Guide By Your Side is a Hands & Voices program that is offered free to families in British Columbia as part of the BC Early Hearing Program.
What is Guide By Your Side?
The Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side program provides parent to parent support for families of infants and young children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Many parents find it helpful to speak with another parent who has been through something similar.
The Power of Parent to Parent
Every family with a child who is deaf or hard of hearing has a different story to tell, yet we all share a common bond. Parent Guides understand the importance of parents supporting and learning from one another. Families who are just beginning the journey can learn from experienced parents – the challenges as well as the joys of raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. Looking back, many parents regret that they did not connect with other parents sooner.
The Role of the Parent Guide
Guide By Your Side Parent Guides are there to support families by listening and sharing stories about their own experiences raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. Parent Guides can also share practical advice a parent learns over the years (e.g. how did we keep those hearing aids on our baby’s ears and out of his mouth?).
Parent Guides are trained to support families without bias towards any particular communication approach (e.g. oral, sign, cued speech, combined methods, etc.). We believe in the Hands & Voices slogan, “What works for your child is what makes the choice right.”
Who is Eligible for the Guide By Your Side program?
In British Columbia, Guide By Your Side is offered to families of infants and very young children recently found to have hearing loss through newborn hearing screening. For more information, please contact the Parent Coordinator of the Guide By Your Side program: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parent to parent support for families of older children is available through early intervention agencies and parent organizations. For more information, please contact BC Hands & Voices: email@example.com
Meet our Parent Guides
Simrit Judge and her husband have 2 children- the youngest hears naturally and the oldest has a bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and wears hearing aids in both ears and has other additional needs. Coming from a multi cultural family she has overcome the challenges of questions and concerns people in her community have had and has therefore been able to talk to other families in similar situations. Simrit lives in Surrey, works 2 days a week and joined Guide By Your Side as a Parent Guide in 2014. She loves to talk to families and offer parent to parent support.
Shannon Humchitt and her husband have three children – the youngest has a unilateral hearing loss. Shannon is an Aboriginal ParentGuide with the Guide By Your Side program since 2011 and enjoys what is offered to parents of deaf and hard of hearing children. She lives in the remote community of Bella Bella, BC. This role has given her a lot of tools to use with her youngest son. Shannon’s background is Advocacy in her community. She enjoys helping people when needed.
Terri Dauvin lives and works in the Prince George area with her husband and two teenage girls. Her oldest daughter has a bilateral moderate to severe mixed hearing loss and wears hearing aids in both ears. Her daughter was identified as hard of hearing at the age of five as she was born prior to the start of the newborn hearing screening. Terri is a Parent Guide with the Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side program. She enjoys connecting with families and also sits on the board for the Northern BC Children and Families Hearing Society.
Lisa Bayko lives in Surrey B.C. with her fiancé and two sons with a third son on the way. Lisa’s oldest son Travis was diagnosed with mild-moderate sensorineural hearing loss bilaterally. Travis’s hearing loss was identified through the early hearing screening done at the hospital. He was also diagnosed with Pendred Syndrome. Lisa joined Guide By Your Side as a Parent Guide in 2013. She loves speaking with families and offering parent to parent support.