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?
In BC, our GBYS program consists of a Coordinator, and a team of Parent and Deaf/Hard of Hearing Guides. Some of the Guides live in large metropolitan areas, and some live in more remote communities. Among them they have a wealth of personal experience raising children who are deaf and hard of hearing, or growing up as deaf or hard of hearing themselves. Some of the Guides have children with other needs in addition to hearing loss, and we have a few Guides who are familiar with a number of cultures and more than one language.
The Power of Parent to Parent Support & the Role of the Parent Guide
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.
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.”
More about DHH Guides
DHH Guides are Deaf or hard of hearing adult role models who provide families with invaluable perspectives that come from personal, lived experience. They are uniquely qualified and trained to provide parents with a positive and hopeful perspective from their day-to-day, real life experiences.
DHH Guide role models give parents the opportunity to ask questions such as “How do you enjoy music? What careers are suitable for people who are deaf/hard of hearing? If you were teased, how did you handle it? Why is it so important to point out all the sounds in our world if our child most likely won’t hear them?”and much more.
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: email@example.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet our Parent Guides
TERRI DAUVIN lives and works in the Prince George area with her husband and two teenage girls. Her oldest daughter wears hearing aids and was identified 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 three sons. Lisa’s oldest son Travis has 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.
JOY SANTOS is mom to Teanna, who is profoundly Deaf, and uses both a Cochlear Implant and hearing aid. Upon learning that her daughter is Deaf, Joy immediately took an interest in learning more about the subject. She picked up American Sign Language and involved herself in the community. Joy currently runs a Family Childcare in Richmond, and is a licensed Early Childhood Educator. As a board member, she is excited to be with a group of positive and proactive individuals, and enjoys being affiliated with an open-minded organization that focuses on supporting the well-being of children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
CATHERINE KALCHBRENNER joined the BC Hands and Voices team as the administrative assistant though she’s also a parent guide with the “Guide by Your Side” Program. She takes care of many behind-the-scenes tasks, such as sending out email announcements, updating the website, and managing the membership database. Catherine has a background in International Business along with some teaching experience. Catherine and her husband Uwe have two children. Her eldest wears a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid. She is thrilled to be a part of H&V and helping other families on the same journey.
AMY HO’s first language is Chinese. Having raised a daughter born with profound hearing loss, she is familiar with the challenges facing ESL families with children who have a hearing loss. She has intimate knowledge of community resources and services that parents can use to help with their child’s development. A parent guide with the GBYS program and fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, Amy is ready to share her knowledge and experience with parents facing similar challenges.
KIM SHAUER and her husband have two school-aged children – the youngest is deaf/hard of hearing with additional complex medical needs. Kim is the Coordinator of the Hands & Voices Guide By Your Side program, a service offered as part of the BC Early Hearing Program. She is passionate about providing parent-to-parent support opportunities, as well as connecting families to resources. Kim’s background is in Marketing Communications and Conference/Event Planning and she is also trained as a Special Educational Assistant.
MARIA PUCCI lives with her husband and 3 children. Her eldest was identified at 5 weeks old to have bilateral mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss through the newborn hearing screening program. He has been wearing hearing aids in both ears since 2 months old. He was also later diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Maria is a Parent Guide with Guide By Your Side and is very excited to share her experiences while helping others begin their new journey.
SHAZIA KARMALI lives in Victoria BC with her husband and son. Her son was born profoundly deaf, and was the first deaf person she and her husband had ever met. He was identified through the BC Early Hearing Program. He uses ASL signs, wears bilateral cochlear implants, and uses spoken language as well. Shazia and her family are so grateful for the support, openness and opportunities to learn and connect with other families provided by the BC Early Hearing Program and BC Hands & Voices. She is thrilled to be able to pay it forward and support other families in their journeys
RABAB ELBAHARIA lives in Burnaby with her husband and three kids. Her youngest, Salma, has left sided severe mixed hearing loss with Microtia. Salma’s hearing loss was identified through the early hearing screening done at the hospital. Rabab’s first language is Arabic. Rabab has benefited greatly from the services offered by the BC Early Hearing Program and she is very grateful for the opportunity to give back and help other families. Rabab and her family are very keen to keep closely connected with BC’s deaf and hard of hearing community. She is also a board member of BC Hands and Voices.
Meet our DHH Guides
MONIQUE LES was born with a profound, bilateral hearing loss due to rubella contracted by her mother during pregnancy. She was fitted with hearing aids at the age of 6 months and received a cochlear implant at the age of 17. Monique is excited to share her story growing up Deaf and Hard of Hearing with families. Monique holds a Masters degree in Criminology from SFU, and has worked for the
Federal and Provincial governments. Monique lives in beautiful Victoria, BC with her husband and two young daughters. She is currently loving being a stay at home mom and advocate on hearing loss issues.
BOWEN TANG was born in Hong Kong and moved to Vancouver in 1998. He has a profound hearing loss in both ears and uses a hearing aid and a cochlear implant. In addition to being a Guide, Bowen is a Teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. He also co-founded a Youth Peer Support Program to support deaf and hard of hearing youth in their navigation of academic and social lives in secondary and post-secondary institutions. Furthermore, he is involved in a board member capacity with several organizations, one of which is International Federation of Hard of Hearing Young People. In his spare time, Bowen loves to catch-up on TV series and movies, hang out with friends, and above all, travel!