"If I drop my child off at school at the beginning of kindergarten, and don't get actively involved in her education, the statistics say that she will graduate with a third to fourth grade reading level by the time she leaves high school--if she is an average deaf student. Most parents aren't willing to accept that. That's why Hands & Voices works so hard to help families become more effective advocates for their children who are deaf or hard of hearing," says Janet DesGeorges, H&V Executive Director.
Many families struggle in their attempts to improve educational programs for their children, and the support they find is usually not experienced with the unique issues facing deaf or hard of hearing kids. Hands & Voices has taken this on because we are so often asked to provide educational advocacy support to families (and professionals) who have questions about special education law and its applicability to students who are deaf or hard of hearing. You will find excellent resources on this website. We recommend.
In states with more mature H&V chapters, it's not at all uncommon to find an H&V trained advocate attending an IEP meeting to support a family who is struggling with their child's educational services and communication access. View our chapter listings to see if this service is available in your area.
While we're not attorneys, and we can't give legal advice, we do feel strongly that parents can be a great asset to one another as unprofessional, educational advocates. So we provide a lot of training to prepare them to do just that. Take a look at our Speaders Bureau. Check our Facebook page or your local chapter web site to see when these workshops may be presented in your state or region. We also highly recommend that any parent or professional interested in educational advocacy sign up for the on-line newsletter available at www.wrightslaw.com , or any of the other fine resources that are available on the internet.