BC H&V 2017 Fall Parent Workshop

BC Hands & Voices and Guide By Your Side are proud to present our 2017 Fall Parent Workshop!

Do you have a Deaf/Hard Hearing Child between the ages of  0-5 years?
If so, here is the Parent Workshop for you – November 4th, 2017!

Presentation – “Is this a D/HH Thing?” – What aspects of your child’s behavior are typical “kid” things, and what might be due to their hearing difference? Learn life-long skills to benefit all interactions!

Parent & Child Panel – Learn from the experiences of parents along with their school-aged D/HH children on a variety of topics (school, family, activities, access and more)! The panelists, represent a range of hearing levels,  hearing equipment and access preferences, and different school settings (including Provincial and District resource programs (such as BC School for the Deaf and Bear Creek Elementary).

Register here today for the early bird rate of $15.  See flyer for details and childcare information (up to age 5). ASL Interpreting & CART captioning provided.

*** Just announced: Guest appearance from The Signing Princesses is sure to brighten up your little ones’ day ***

Registration is now open here.

Please see PDF flyer and images for all information.

2017 fall workshop

Fall Workshop Traditional Chinese

Fall Workshop Simplified Chinese

 

 

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Kindergarten Transition – Considering All Aspects of Access for Your Child

By Alison Nutt

The transition from early intervention services and the preschool years into kindergarten and school age services is a time of many changes. Not just for you as parents but also for your kiddos!  As the school year starts, it may feel both exciting and overwhelming to adjust to these changes and make sure that all of your child’s needs are met.   

A big focus for this transition to kindergarten for deaf and hard of hearing children is on access. Access will look different for each child, particularly when talking about language and learning needs; however focusing on other areas of “access” for your child is equally important, not just in the first few years but onwards into middle and high school, and any environment that your child eventually finds themselves in. This might include visual access (not limited to ASL), social access, emotional access, and access within their school and home communities – and others!

As a professional who has worked both in early invention and in mental health, I have had the privilege and opportunity to support families in many different aspects of this time of transition and in the early elementary years. Often times the nature of my work includes supporting children in ways to increase or enhance their “access” to other areas of their school and home lives that are not tied to the traditional thoughts about education and access. Here are a few of the things I have learned and observed from working with families that may be helpful as your child transitions into kindergarten or in future elementary years:

Advocating for the use of visual supports within the classroom:

  • This can be helpful for the entire class however has the added bonus of helping the deaf or hard of hearing child more easily follow routines, rules or expectations visually even if they have misheard or missed the instructions all together.
  • For those kiddos who may have some struggles with planning or organizing their time, visuals can help them to know what steps they need to take to complete a task or can serve as a reminder of an expectation. For example, a small picture at the top corner of their desk with the picture of their FM equipment can help them with developing independence with using their equipment or reminding them of the expectation to put it away at the end of the day.
  • Some children may benefit from the use of an ASL interpreter to help with their visual learning and attention to learning material.

Small group work for classroom learning as well as social and emotional learning opportunities:

  • For children who receive “pull out” services from an itinerant teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing, or a speech therapist, or any other professional, consider requesting that some of your child’s peers join these sessions. This can help with fostering social connections as well as empathy.
  • Small groups for learning activities also provide the opportunity for more focused learning with settings that are easier to manage for listening to peers or the teacher.

Ensure there is a focus on emotion vocabulary and your child’s development of understanding emotional and behavioural responses (self-regulation and emotional regulation):

    • Social and emotional learning has become more included in the school curriculum which is great! Ask the teacher what is being taught at school and review it at home with your child – this can be particularly helpful for providing more information to specific topics (incidental learning), the opportunity for your child to ask more questions, applying it to their own experiences, and reinforcing any ASL vocabulary that might be learned.
    • Bring this learning home by discussing a wide variety of emotions and how we manage them, explaining how you solve problems, and modeling how to calm down when we feel frustrated or overwhelmed.
    • There are many books (often found in the library!) and activities that can be done at home that focus on emotional vocabulary and self-regulation skills.


Seek out social relationships with deaf and hard of hearing children and connections to programs and services within the deaf and hard of hearing community:

    • Your child may be the only deaf/hard of hearing child at their school and some children have a harder time with this experience – a connection outside of school to other deaf/hard of hearing kids and adults can help your child develop a stronger sense of identity and self esteem because they are able to connect with others who may have similar experiences as them.
    • A strong sense of identity, confidence and positive self esteem can be connected to strong self advocacy skills – beneficial skills to have as your child moves through the school years and beyond!

At times, the school environment for deaf and hard of hearing children may be overwhelming and feel very busy. At a young age, your child may not have the vocabulary or understanding to be able to explain this to you or to their teacher. When this happens, sometimes what you may see is “challenging behaviour” or showing disinterest in activities or possibly a change in their willingness to wear hearing aids or cochlear implants. Connecting with your child about their thoughts/emotions, social connections and school activities can help you to gain a better understanding of what they are experiencing throughout the day and look at making shifts or changes to better support all the areas of “access”.

If you are interested in discussing this topic or these ideas further, please feel free to connect with me at the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind Well Being Program – Alison.nutt@vch.ca.  If our program is not the best fit for services or another program can better answer your questions, we can help to make that connection.

 

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Parent Coffee Night- “Help your Deaf/ Hard of Hearing Child Get a Good Night’s Sleep!”

Please join us for a special coffee night on Thursday Sept 28th, 2017
Special Topic: “Help your Deaf/ Hard of Hearing Child Get a Good Night’s Sleep!”
(Attend in person or Call-in Via Teleconference or online video conference if you live outside the Metro Vancouver area)

parent coffee

Join us at a special parent coffee night about sleep! Sometimes the techniques we use with hearing children need some adjusting for our deaf/hard of hearing kids! If there are sleeping challenges in your home – you are certainly not alone! Share in the conversation with other parents and learn some tips so everyone is well rested! Come and join us for an informal coffee night where you can ask questions or share experiences with other parents.

 

Please join us in person for Lower Mainland parents. If you’re interested in the phone-in or webcam/ online option, please RSVP by May 25th so that we can provide you with the calling information.

WHEN: 7:30 – 9:00pm

WHERE: BC Family Hearing Resource Society, 15220 92 Ave, Surrey

CONTACT: ckalchbrenner (at) cw.bc.ca to RSVP or with any questions.

2017 Sept Sleep Coffee night

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Summer Get-Together 2017

Join us for a play day!

Whether it’s your first time coming to an event or you never miss a chance to socialize and catch up.

Tuesday, August 22nd 2017 11:00am – 2:00 pm Grimston Park 19th Street at 7th Avenue New Westminster (close to 22nd Street Skytrain Station)

Look for the orange & blue balloons!
ASL Interpreter Available

This park has a beautiful playground and wading pool. Bring a picnic lunch, swimwear, towels and blanket.

RSVP is not required, but please watch our Facebook page for notice of cancellation if it’s raining. Visit our Facebook Page & Website: https://www.facebook.com/handsandvoicesBC Contact: info@bchandsandvoices.com

Summer Get Together Flyer

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How Do We Join the Deaf Community?

Author: Kim Shauer

This was a question asked at our recent Parent Coffee night and a question many other parents of deaf/hard of hearing (D/HH) children may also be wondering.  

BC Hands & Voices and Guide By Your Side (part of the BC Early Hearing Program) recently hosted a coffee night for parents featuring the topic of Deaf Culture & ASL. Parents had the opportunity to meet Christy Jeffery and Dan Braun, both Deaf role models who led the evening and shared some of their experiences growing up Deaf and using American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary language.

So – how do we join the Deaf Community? According to Dan and Christy – just show up! Come to an event and introduce yourself and your D/HH child. Christy and Dan reminded parents not to be discouraged even though there may be some curious looks by people wondering “who’s this new face?” Just say “Hello!” advised our guest presenters.

What seemed really special about the evening was that it was attended by parents of children with all hearing levels (bilateral and unilateral) and users of all types of hearing technology.  Many were curious about using ASL (some parents knew a lot already but for some parents ASL was brand new). All were reassured they would be welcomed into being involved in the Deaf community.  

Parents asked a lot of great questions throughout the evening such as “does our signing have to be perfect?” – a daunting question to ask these amazing signers! Their answer was not to worry so much about getting the signs right or wrong. When kids are young, many families (both with hearing and deaf children) have their own home signs and gestures (siblings as well). Parents don’t need to be perfect; communication back and forth is more important than a perfectly executed sign. Plus, don’t worry about what other people think! Give it a try and your child will end up leading the way eventually with what works for them.  

After the event, one family shared how meeting role models connected them to the Deaf Community:

“In our experience, the D/HH role models are warm and welcoming ambassadors of Deaf culture. They replace the fear of the unknown with the safety of community.” – Kurt Kuzminski

“I saw a total shift in my father after he had the opportunity to meet a Deaf role model. It was an important turning point for him and his understanding and acceptance of our daughter’s deafness.” – Sage Kuzminski

Thank you Christy and Dan for sharing such a positive message as always. We could have continued on for another hour or more I’m sure!  

Don’t miss the next opportunity to meet other families as well as D/HH Guides and role models at the summer get-together happening on Tuesday August 22 nd . Details can be found here: http://www.bchandsandvoices.com/post/summer-get-together-2017/

If you are a parent of a D/HH child under five, are unable to come to an event, and would like to meet a D/HH Guide role model virtually over an app on your smart phone or computer to ask some of your own questions, email gbys@cw.bc.ca.

Note from the Editor:
Parent Coffee nights happen approximately six times per year and cover a variety of topics. The last few have also been offered via a teleconference line and video conferencing for parents to call in and listen/participate, even if they live too far away or cannot attend in person. If you would like to be notified of upcoming events, please go to www.bchandsandvoices.com and click at the top right corner “Sign up for our Newsletter”.

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The Big Move- Traditional Chinese

By Anja Rosenke

The Big Move- Traditional Chinese

Link to English version

This translation was made possible with a generous donation of the Gwyn Morgan & Patricia Trottier Foundation.

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The Big Move- Simplified Chinese

By Anja Rosenke

The Big Move- Simplified Chinese

Link to English version

This translation was made possible with a generous donation of the Gwyn Morgan & Patricia Trottier Foundation.

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The Big Move- Punjabi

By Anja Rosenke

The Big Move- Punjabi Translation

Link to English version

This translation was made possible with a generous donation of the Gwyn Morgan & Patricia Trottier Foundation.

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Parent Coffee Night- Microtia/ Atresia Topic

Please join us for a special coffee night on Monday May 29th, 2017
Special Topic: Microtia/ Atresia
(Attend in person or Call-in Via Teleconference or online video conference if you live outside the Metro Vancouver area)

parent coffee

We are pleased to have two of our BC Hands & Voices members, Jesse Kazemir and Catherine Kalchbrenner. Jesse is an SFU student with bilateral microtia/ atresia and Catherine is the parent of a 6 year old with right-sided microtia/ atresia. This is a safe space to ask your questions and learn more to support your child.

 

Please join us in person for Lower Mainland parents. If you’re interested in the phone-in or webcam/ online option, please RSVP by May 25th so that we can provide you with the calling information.

WHEN: 7:30 – 9:00pm

WHERE: Children’s Hearing & Speech Centre, 3575 Kaslo St. Vancouver

CONTACT: ckalchbrenner (at) cw.bc.ca to RSVP or with any questions.

2017MicrotiaAtresiaCoffeeNight4.30

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The Story of a Chapter: 10 years of BC Hands & Voices

By Teresa Kazemir

Ten years ago, in June of 2007, I attended my very first Hands & Voices Leadership conference outside of Denver, Colorado. I will never forget the warm, welcoming, supportive and energizing feeling that radiated from that group of parents and professionals. It was like a family and I immediately felt that I belonged, regardless of our son’s hearing levels, what form of communication we used or what country we came from. Straight away, I thought that this was something we needed in British Columbia, especially for families of young babies that were just starting to be identified by universal newborn hearing screening through the BC Early Hearing Program.

“Hands & Voices … was like a family and I felt that I belonged, regardless of our son’s hearing levels, what form of communication we used or what country we came from.”

To back up a little…in 2006, as the BC Early Hearing Program was forming, a Parent Advisory Group (PAG) was established to help guide the process. Members of this volunteer group included Cathy Luther, Tammy Busch, Amy Ho, Jen Kipling, Shelley Mallinson and myself. Initially, the PAG was asked to provide input and feedback related to various aspects of the Early Hearing Program. We provided a parent perspective, while the professionals considered processes and procedures, and we also helped to develop materials and resources such as the website, brochures, and the family path (a brochure outlining the steps a family takes following hearing screening through to early intervention).

In 2007, the BC Early Hearing Program was ready to consider implementing a parent to parent support component of the program. Cathy Luther and I were sent to the Hands & Voices Leadership conference to explore whether Hands & Voices might be a good model for parent to parent support in BC. After many hours of discussion and debate, we came back with the recommendation that BC set up a Guide By Your Side program – and because Guide By Your Side is a Hands & Voices program, this also meant setting up a BC chapter of Hands & Voices.

Teresa Kazemir and Cathy Luther at the Leadership Conference in Breckenridge, Colorado, 2008

The next several months was a flurry of activity – BC Hands & Voices was established as a non-profit society and invitations were sent out to various individuals to become the founding directors of the board. A mission statement and by-laws were created. An application was made to Hands & Voices Headquarters, which involved a great amount of correspondence as we were the first chapter established outside of the USA.

Mission Statement: BC Hands & Voices is a parent-driven, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.  We are a parent/professional collaborative group that is unbiased towards communication modes and methods, believing that families will make the best choices for their children if they have access to good information and support.

Some of the original BC Hands & Voices board, 2009 (Jen Kipling, Monique Preer, Cathy Luther, Teresa Kazemir, Amy Ho, Mary Stewart)

Simultaneously, planning was underway to set up Guide By Your Side. This Hands & Voices program was to be overseen by the BC chapter, at the same time being fully funded by and part of the BC Early Hearing program. I was hired as the Guide By Your Side Parent Coordinator, and the first team of Parent Guides were selected (Amy Ho, Shelley Mallinson, Bobbi Best, Gillian Doan, Terri Dauvin). This was all accomplished by early March 2008, in time for our initial training with Leeanne Seaver and Janet DesGeorges, two of the founding members of Hands & Voices.

First group of Parent Guides, 2008: Back row from left: Terri Dauvin, Bobbi Best, Teresa Kazemir. Front row from left: Gillian Doan, Shelley Mallinson, Amy Ho

“There was a specific need for unbiased parent-to-parent support very early after identification”

Early on there was some confusion about who Hands & Voices was and why we needed a chapter here in BC. There were two other parent organizations already in existence – Family Network for Deaf Children (FNDC) and Canadian Hard of Hearing Association of BC Parents’ Branch (CHHA-BC Parents’ Branch). Through many meetings and discussions, we all came to agree that while FNDC and CHHA-BC Parents’ Branch both provided much-needed supports for families, they were focused on school–aged children. With the implementation of the BC Early Hearing Program and newborn hearing screening, it became clear there was a specific need for unbiased parent-to-parent support very early after identification. Thus BC Hands & Voices, unlike other chapters of Hands & Voices, has always focused on the specific age group from birth to 5 years, supporting families within the entire spectrum of communication choices and hearing levels.

“BC Hands & Voices … (is) focused on the specific age group from birth to 5 years, supporting families within the entire spectrum of communication choices and hearing levels.”

Over the past ten years, many of our founding members have transitioned off the board, and some Parent Guides have moved on to other jobs, but there has never been a lack of people ready and willing to embrace our philosophy and join us in our work. As a parent driven organization, our board is mostly parents of deaf and hard-of hearing children, but professionals working in this area complete our diverse team. I have felt privileged to sit at the table with so many parents and professionals from diverse backgrounds with a wealth of experience and expertise. We continually learn from one another – by stretching ourselves and listening to each other’s stories, we become better advocates for our children and better supports for other families.

So now, after 10 years on this journey, it’s time for me to step back a little. While I do enjoy ‘driving the bus’, it feels good to see other very capable parent leaders step up to take on those roles. I am not leaving BC Hands & Voices altogether, but I am happy to see that it has become a strong organization that is no longer dependent on one or two specific individuals to keep it alive. My feelings are similar to when our oldest child moved out ‘permanently’ – I’m proud, relieved and optimistic, yet I know I will have to hold back a little and refrain from interfering or taking over. Parenting an adult is quite different from parenting a child. So I will strive to be available when needed, but also to respect that there are different ways of doing things. I look forward to this next phase with BC Hands & Voices, and I am happy that I am able to continue working with such a wonderful group of people!

 

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