A RALLYING CRY:
WE NEED ALL YOUR HANDS & VOICES
If you or your child/student talk or sign... if you talk and sign, or cue, or care, we need you. If you are directly, indirectly, or potentially involved with children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families, we need you. We need to be united by our hands and our voices . We are parents, professionals, adult mentors, consumers, and others who are in so many ways connected to a cause and to each other through the community of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. We are card-carrying members of the National Association of the Deaf, the Alexander Graham Bell Society, the American Society for Deaf Children, and Auditory Verbal International. We are Hands & Voices.
If you're sensing a theme of solidarity amongst all the diverse perspectives that make up the fragmented and often fractious group we're calling a Community, then you're reading this right. Hands & Voices is a non-profit organization that supports the right for families to choose the communication mode or method that best matches that child's needs in light of the family's values, lifestyle, goals for their child, and the child's own inclinations and abilities. We are not sponsored by a service provider nor organizationally biased towards one form of communication over another. Rather, we rally around the things that unite us as a community: the right to an excellent education, and to full communication access in the world for our kids.
Hands & Voices provides information, training, advocacy support, parent-to-parent networking, a quarterly newspaper, The Communicator, website, special events and other activities designed to provide families with the information they need to make good choices for their children. Our organization is parent-driven, but highly collaborative with professionals and consumers who are represented on our Board of Directors, and advisory board, and make up approximately one third of our membership. We work at both the local and national levels. Our state chapters provide local and regional support consistent with the Hands & Voices non-biased philosophy and mission. In addition to family support, we strive to be meaningfully involved at the systems development level in each state where we have chapters and members.
At the national level, we provide our uniquely united representation of the deaf/hard of hearing community as advisory board members to organizations like the National Center on Low-Incidence Disabilities (NCLID), the Marion Downs National Center for Infant Hearing, The Join-Together Grant Executive Advisory Board, the Family Action Coalition, the National Coalition for Early Intervention for Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Boy's Town National Center Advisory, and the American Academy of Audiology, Newborn Hearing Screening and EHDI committees. Hands & Voices National has presented at many national conferences including the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf (Maastricht), the National Deaf Ed Reform Summit, the Early Detection of Hearing Impairment (EDHI) Annual Conferences, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) annual convention, and the ASHA (American Speech, Hearing & Language Association) conference, the International Conference on Newborn Hearing (Italy), to Deaf Children Australia, to the Australia/New Zealand Conference for Educators of the Deaf, among others. Hands & Voices is a sponsor of the Early Intervention Illustrated video training series, plus "A is for Access" DVD on communication access in public schools, and we wrote the deaf/hard of hearing on-line curriculums for the NCLID. We were also invited to contributed the opening chapter, "Special Education Law: a New I.D.E.A. for Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing," to the fourth edition of, "Auditory Disorders in School Children," a definitive work by Ross J. Roeser, Ph.D., and Marion Downs, D.H.S.. Whether we're at work locally or nationally, Hands & Voices continues to be driven by the need to improve the educational outcomes and quality of life for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, and we strive for maximum exposure of our message.
To become a member of Hands & Voices National, or a state chapter in your area, you can join our efforts by subscribing via directions provided on our website, ( click here )